Airbus Reaches A380 Full-Year Delivery Target as New Orders Lag

Airbus SAS said it has delivered its 30th A380 plane, achieving its 2012 target as production outpaces new orders for the second year in a row.

The final A380 for the year was delivered yesterday, Toulouse, France-based Airbus said in an e-mail. With four new A380s ordered through November against a target of 30, Airbus’s backlog for its flagship aircraft has shrunk to 160 units.

Airbus has struggled to secure new commitments for the A380 as demand has sagged in difficult economic conditions for airlines and amid concern a component in the aircraft’s wing is prone to cracking. Regulators are expected to approve a fix to the wing flaw early next year.

Production of A380s, which increased from 18 in 2010 and 26 last year, is expected to dip in 2013 as Airbus repairs existing aircraft and delivers new planes with wings that will not need mending. Production should rebound in 2014 as Airbus works to a goal of delivering profitable A380s from 2015.

British Airways is scheduled to be the only new A380 operator next year. The International Consolidated Airlines Group SA unit is buying 12 A380s which will have 469 seats four classes, London-based BA said in a statement on Dec. 11.

Airbus is on track to end the year with more orders and aircraft built than it projected at the start of the year even as the plane manufacturer relinquishes the title as the largest maker of commercial airliners to Boeing Co.

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