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Airbus Committed to Delivery Schedule

Airbus' chief said Thursday the European aircraft maker is "fully committed" to the revised delivery schedule of its A380 superjumbo, with the first plane due in October, and was hopeful of securing more orders in 2007.

Production problems have delayed the launch of the world's biggest passenger plane a total of two years, with Singapore Airlines scheduled to receive the first A380.

"We are fully committed to deliver the airplane ... by October 2007, and I am fully committed personally," said Airbus President and Chief Executive Louis Gallois at a joint press conference after signing the official order to supply Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd. with eight more superjumbos and four additional A330-200 aircraft.

"We know exactly how we will deliver (A380) airplanes up to 2012 and we feel that we are on track," he added.

Qantas had ordered the eight additional A380s in October, after first ordering 12 planes six years ago, bringing its total superjumbos on order to 20. The first delivery is expected in August 2008.

Qantas Chief Executive Geoff Dixon said the A330s would help fill capacity shortfalls caused by the superjumbo delays.

But Dixon refused to clarify what compensation had been agreed for the most recent delay, announced in October.

At its full-year results in August, Qantas booked A$104 million (US$81 million) in liquidated damages from Airbus, and Dixon said, "if there is anything more to be said it will be said at the coming half yearly results," in February.

John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer for customers, said the European jetmaker was also in discussions with "several other airlines" for additional A380 orders after only securing incremental orders for 17 planes from Qantas and Singapore Airlines this year.

"Obviously it won't happen between now and the end of this year, but I think in '07 you'll be seeing additional A380 orders from around the world," said Leahy.

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