A380 deliveries hit by Rolls-Royce engine failure: Airbus

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Deliveries of the Airbus A380 superjumbo airliner will be cut this year from the planned 20 to 19, because of the failure of a Rolls Royce engine last month, company chairman Thomas Enders said on Wednesday.

The incident will also affect deliveries next year, he said.

On November 4, a Trent 900 engine made by Rolls-Royce of Britain and fitted on an A380 flown by Australian airline Qantas exploded in mid-flight causing serious damage to the aircraft.

Airbus has previously warned that the incident would affect deliveries owing to the time needed for inspections and replacements for the engine which powers aircraft used by three customers for the A380 -- Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa of Germany.

Enders said in a letter to staff, seen by AFP, that "huge" progress had been made on the A380 programme this year and production costs had been reduced.

"The operational reliability of our fleet in service has markedly improved -- and so has the satisfaction of our customers with the planes," he said.

But he added: "We still face significiant challenges going forward. And certainly, the Rolls-Royce engine incident on Qantas flight QF32 has added further disruptions and complications to our production.

"Deliveries in 2010 (where we now expect 19 instead of 20 deliveries) and 2011 will be impacted.

"Our priority, however, is to support customers with RR engines and to do everything possible to ensure that the reputation of our great aircraft with customers and passengers alike will not suffer in this difficult period."

© 2010 AFP

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