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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 November 2005, 12:14 GMT
Airbus jet delay costs 'millions'
Airbus A380 landing
The superjumbo made its maiden flight in April this year
European aircraft maker Airbus will pay out millions of dollars to airlines hit by A380 superjumbo delivery delays.

Chief operating officer John Leahy said the group would be paying a "couple of million dollars" in compensation during an interview on Australian TV.

Airbus has said that the plane is running between four and six months behind, with the first delivery now expected to be late next year.

Airbus has secured 159 firm orders for the plane so far.

'Confidential'

During an interview with Australia's Nine Network, Mr Leahy refused to give any exact details about possible compensation agreements.

"The airplane costs about $285m a copy, so I think it is safe to say we are talking a couple of million dollars," he said.

"But let's not get into detail that's confidential between us and the customer," he added.

We have 159 firm orders and I have got about 100 options that are blocking delivery slots, most of them over the next five years
John Leahy, Airbus

Last week the company confirmed it would be making payouts to customers

Australian Airline Qantas is one of several airlines that is holding discussions about compensation after delivery of its order for 12 of the double-decker jets was put back by around six months to April 2007.

Singapore Airlines has complained about an eight month delay to its delivery, which means its 10 planes will not arrive until November next year.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines says it is unhappy that it will have to wait longer than expected for the six jets it has ordered.

Customer drive

Mr Leahy made the comments as the A380 carried out an Asian tour to woo new customers for the plane.

During the stop over at Sydney Airport Mr Leahy also told reporters that the firm was now close to selling 250 of the superjumbos - the number the company needs to sell to break even on its investment.

So far the company has invested more than $10bn in developing the passenger jet.

"We are essentially there now. We have 159 firm orders and I have got about 100 options that are blocking delivery slots, most of them over the next five years," Mr Leahy said.

Airbus, which is owned by European firm EADS and the UK's BAE Systems, sees the A380 as the future of air travel.

The aircraft can carry between 555 and 840 people, has wider seats, more legroom and 50% more floor space than the Boeing 747. It also has a 15,100km (8,150 nautical miles) flight range.




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