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Hey Airbus, Wake Us When You're Ready
The Airbus A380 was supposed to revolutionize air travel, ferrying hundreds of passengers on super-long nonstop flights in European style. But in the past few months, the A380 program has turned into a rumor mill that rivals the one surrounding Madonna's Malawian baby crisis. The International Herald Tribune gets down to the facts of the matter: With major construction delays, airlines who have ordered aircraft--but don't pay for them until they're delivered--have Airbus operating with "massive" cost overruns at the moment.
Because of the financial situation, Airbus will only be able to churn out 84 planes by the end of 2010. In June, the company said it would have 159 finished planes by then. Airbus has 159 "firm orders" right now, so airlines expecting the planes, which in the most common configuration seat 555 people each, will have to order other planes to fill schedules.
Airlines like Emirates are banking on the A380 for future expansion. Then again, this isn't the first time this has happened. If Airbus finally gets things moving, which is about as likely as us adopting a Malawian boy, expect to ride on one of the first A380's in October of next year. The good news? It won't be fitted with standing room only seats.