Wednesday, June 23, 2010

German aviation circles abuzz with MAS? possible cancellation of A380 order

BERLIN: German aviation circles are abuzz with news of possible cancellation of an order placed by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) with aircraft manufacturer Airbus for the super-jumbo passenger aircraft A380. ''

The various government agencies associated with the aviation sector are closely monitoring the signals coming from Malaysia. ''

Germany has a stake in the European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, which is part of the EADS Group.

The possibility of an order for A380 aircraft being canceled is causing a great deal of nervousness particularly at a time when the aircraft manufacturer is anxious not to lose any business in a global market that is increasingly characterised by deep economic uncertainties and a downturn in demand.

There are also fears that MAS' cancellation of the order could prompt other airlines to do the same.

According to aviation circles in Germany, MAS has been quietly but firmly venting its frustrations to Airbus over the delay in deliverng the big bird.

German media has been quoting Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin, MAS managing director and chief executive officer, as saying that "we are very unhappy".

Indeed, Azmil has reportedly warned the aircraft manufacturer that the airline would not tolerate any further delay.

This message is interpreted by the Germans as a "clear warning" to Airbus that in the event of further delay, MAS would use its right to cancel the order.

Should MAS resort to exercise this right, this would be the first time that the A380 passenger aircraft is not being accepted by a customer.

The development of the freight aircraft was stopped after FedEx and UPS said they were not interested in the acquisition of that aircraft.

MAS has placed an order with Airbus for six aircraft of the A380 type.

MAS has waited for four years for the delivery of their first wide-bodied Airbus. ''

As an old customer, MAS was given price discounts which Airbus has not been disclosing. ''

However, some German aviation experts say that it "must have been discounts of up to one third of the price". The list price for a A380 is US$340 million a piece.

Airbus had encountered major technical and other problems in the development and CONSTRUCTION [] of the world's biggest passenger aircraft, as a result of which, all the customers received their aircraft after a delay of several years.

In the meantime, the problems have been resolved and Airbus has begun delivering the aircraft.

The aircraft manufacturer has processing orders on a "first-come-first-serve" basis.

The German airline, Lufthansa, recently received its first A380 aircraft after having to wait a few years. The aircraft is being deployed on the long-haul Frankfurt-Tokyo route.

The sequence in which Malaysia placed its order was after the other airlines.

It was promised delivery of the aircraft in January 2011 but Airbus announced that it would be delaying delivery to the third quarter of the year.

But even this delivery timeframe does not appear realistic now.

The aircraft manufacturer is reportedly planning to deliver the first A380 aircraft in the second quarter of 2012. ''

Airbus has apologised to MAS for the delayed delivery.

Airbus, which has been delivering the aircraft since 2007, has earned praise in the past for its reliability.

It will deliver at least 20 wide-bodied A380 aircraft this year to customer airlines. Production of the aircraft has been sold out until 2015. ' Bernama

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