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Airbus to increase A380 production - CEO

2012-02-15 16:50

Singapore - Airbus still plans to increase production of its flagship A380 despite the discovery of tiny cracks in some of the planes' wings, chief executive Thomas Enders said on Wednesday.

The European Aviation Safety Agency last week ordered checks on all A380s following the discovery of the wing cracks, although the aircraft maker insisted they did not pose any danger to flight safety.

Enders said the European aircraft maker was on schedule to deliver 30 double-decker A380s this year, including to two new customers - the flag-carriers of Malaysia and Thailand.

Increase in production


"Despite the issue we have right now with the cracks in the wing ribbed feet... we're maintaining our planned increase in production," he said at a news conference at the Singapore Airshow.

"Meanwhile, our A380 network continues to grow and serve more and more destinations worldwide."

Airbus currently has 69 A380 planes in service globally, half of them in the Asia-Pacific region, with Singapore Airlines and Australia's Qantas using the planes.

With 30 deliveries scheduled this year, "we're maintaining our planned increase in production", he said.

Problems

Enders earlier in the week admitted that the company had "screwed up" on the cracks and vowed to repair them quickly.

On Wednesday, the Airbus boss said the A380 -- the world's biggest passenger plane -- "is absolutely safe to fly" but added the manufacturer had learnt lessons and would apply these to its A350 programme.

Although the programme is running behind schedule, Airbus is not in a hurry as it wants to avoid the problems it has experienced with the A380.

"Are we learning from this? Absolutely," he said.

"It's unfortunate," he said of the wing cracks.

"But again this is a problem we created for ourselves and we will fix it ourselves."