Airbus suspends work on A380 cargo plane
PARIS, March 1, 2007 (AFP) - European aircraft maker Airbus announced Thursday it had suspended development of the cargo version of its giant A380 superjumbo jet, but would continue looking for clients for the freight plane.
Three clients had placed orders for the Airbus cargo superjumbo plane by November, but two have since been scrapped and a third was also poised to be cancelled.
“We are not stopping the programme,” said an Airbus spokesman.
“We are suspending development, but we will continue canvassing for business.”
The announcement came a day after Airbus unveiled a major restructuring plan that will lead to 10,000 job losses in Germany, France, Britain and Spain.
The US Fedex freight and messenger service scrapped its order for 10 A380F cargo planes in November after Airbus announced a two-year delay in deliveries.
Its competitor UPS said last week it was also considering cancelling an order for 10 planes this year while the International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC), which handles aircraft leases, scrapped the order for five cargo planes and chose instead five passenger jets.
An Airbus spokeswoman said the UPS order had not been cancelled but the “timetable for delivery has been postponed and is still under discussion.”
The cargo version of the A380 was designed to carry 150 tonnes of freight over 10,400 kilometres.
Airbus, created in 1970 as a European industrial initiative to compete with Boeing in the strategically important airline sector, was long held up as an example of European cooperation and vision.
But by the 1990s, weaknesses in the structure of the company had become apparent and a compromise reorganisation was agreed, with difficulty.
Subject: Belgian news