Despite delays in the delivery of Airbus A380 jets, the superjumbo plane is expected to debut on schedule at Los Angeles International Airport this fall.
Qantas Airways plans to begin flying the 525-seat colossus from LAX to Sydney, Australia, in October. Qantas will be the first airline to offer flights on the double-decker aircraft from Los Angeles.
"We are still expecting to receive our first A380 in August as already scheduled," said Wally R. Mariani, Qantas Airways senior executive vice president for the Americas and the Pacific, in an e-mail response.
Last week Airbus announced it will delay deliveries of some of the $300 million planes over the next three years because of production problems with the cabin wiring systems, which require 300 miles of wires.
Airbus will deliver 12 of the 13 aircraft originally scheduled for completion this year, since most of those planes have been manually outfitted with cabin wiring.
But the failure to automate the installation of the wiring systems means the company will miss subsequent delivery targets by greater margins, delivering only 21 of 25 planes next year and 30 of the 40 aircraft scheduled for 2010.
Qantas has ordered 20 of the aircraft, including three from the initial wave of production, which are not expected to be affected by the delays. The airline plans to deploy the A380 from Australia to the United States and the United Kingdom. The company has not specified what it will do with the third plane, and it has not announced whether it will expand A380 service from L.A. beyond the initial plane.
Officials at LAX do not anticipate the delays in A380 deliveries to affect operations at the airport this year.
"We are assessing the impact of the Airbus announcement on the introduction of A380 service at LAX," said Tom Winfrey, a spokesman for Los Angeles World Airports. "Based on initial information, we do not expect any impact in 2008. We will have a reading on the 2009 impact shortly."
Singapore Airlines is the only airliner currently offering flights on the A380, with four of the aircraft already in service. They do not fly to LAX.
Airbus has not disclosed which customers will be affected by the delays and how their delivery dates will change, which will ultimately depend on how quickly the company is able to solve existing production problems and develop a new delivery schedule.
The company is in individual talks with each of its customers concerning the delays, said Kristi Tucker, a spokesperson for Airbus Americas.
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