Airbus delays A350 again; EADS posts strong 2Q

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Published: July 28, 2012

Computer rendering of A350. Courtesy, Airbus

Airbus has moved the A350 XWB’s target for entry into service to the second half of 2014, a delay of about three months from the current program schedule, which was already behind the original schedule.

The next-generation aircraft was originally slated for entry into service in mid-2013 ( ATW Daily News, Nov. 11, 2011 ). Airbus said it will take a €124 million ($ 151.3 million) charge for the delay, which the manufacturer said is “due to the time taken for the implementation of the automated drilling process for the wings.”

Airbus parent EADS conceded in a statement: “The A350 XWB remains a challenging program.”

The announcement was made as EADS reported second-quarter net income of €461 million ($ 562.6 million), well more than tripling a €121 million net profit in the prior-year period, as Airbus’ commercial revenue jumped 17% year-over-year to €9.09 billion. EADS’ second-quarter revenue rose 12% to €13.53 billion.

“Our financial results demonstrate steady momentum,” EADS CEO Tom Enders said in a statement. “One important step [to further globalizing EADS and Airbus] is our decision to build a final assembly line for Airbus aircraft in the US [ ATW Daily News, July 2 ]. Our key programs, particularly at Airbus, continue to command our utmost attention. On the A350 especially, maturity of sections delivered to the final assembly is of key importance to us as we prepare for a robust production ramp-up [ ATW Daily News, July 27 ].”

EADS’ first-half 2012 net profit was €594 million, significantly improved over €109 million in net income in the first six months of 2011.

Airbus booked 230 net commercial aircraft orders in the 2012 first half, a big drop from 640 booked in the year-ago period, but EADS noted the Paris Air Show took place in June 2011 while the Farnborough Airshow occurred in July 2012. Airbus’ commercial backlog stood at €485.7 billion as of June 30, up 2.1% from Dec. 31, 2011.

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