Dubai-owned airlineEmirates, the biggest customer for Airbus's A380 aircraft, said the European plane-maker notified that it may face further delays in the delivery of the world's largest passenger plane.
"It's very serious," Emirates President Tim Clark told newswire Reuters by telephone in Dubai on Tuesday. "This will do us serious damage."
Airbus sent a letter to Emirates informing it of possible delays in its "wave 2" delivery of the A380. This would apply to A380s being delivered to Emirates in April next year, Clark said.
"We'll know in two to three weeks if it's okay or not," Clark said. Airbus did not explain why the deliveries could be delayed, Clark said.
Emirates expects to receive four A380s this year, one before the end of March, with the first Emirates flight using the A380 expected to be on October 1 from Dubai to New York.
The airline is expecting another 12 A380s in the year to March 31, 2009. It has ordered 58 of the world's biggest passenger aircraft in total.
Airbus declined to comment.
The notification follows last week's announcement by Airbus that it was carrying out a major review of delivery targets for the A380 superjumbo and might meet them, raising the possibility of further delays.
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Emirates Chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum told ArabianBusiness.com last week he would be "very disappointed” if Airbus fails to deliver its initial order of A380’s on schedule, but did not expect any delay.
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Emirates President Tim Clark also told reporters last week he was confident of taking delivery this year on time.
Airbus has delayed delivery of the A380 three times so far, causing its delivery schedule to fall almost two years behind after a series of industrial mishaps since 2005.
Emirates has already received a "large" part of a 404-million dirham payment for "liquidating damages" came from Airbus for late delivery of its A380s, according to Clark.
The airline said last week it posted a 62% rise in profit to $1.37 billion for the last fiscal year on the back of higher passenger and cargo traffic, despite soaring fuel costs.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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