Airbus delivers first European A380 to Air France
03 / 11 / 2009
AS Air France takes delivery of its first Airbus A380, Airbus itself announces it is to delay delivery of more of the aircraft due to customers’ financial problems.The French carrier is the first European airline to fly the all-new double-decker aircraft on scheduled services. The aircraft was handed over in a delivery ceremony in Hamburg, Germany to Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, chief executive officer of Air France KLM and to Jean-Cyril Spinetta, chairman of the board of directors of Air France-KLM by Tom Enders, Airbus president and chief executive officer in the presence of James Moravecek, engine alliance president.“Each A380 will enable Air France to save €12 to €15 million a year, which, in today’s depressed economic climate, provides the company with the means to withstand the crisis,” said Henri Gourgeon, chief executive officer of Air France-KLM. “Air France will therefore be able to offer customers even greater comfort, while keeping costs under control. Furthermore, the performance of the A380 is in line with our environmental commitments,” he added.“This delivery marks another milestone in the longstanding history and partnership between Air France and Airbus,” said Enders. “It fills us with great pride that our first ever aircraft customer is now also the first European airline to operate the A380. We are convinced the A380 will greatly contribute to Air France’s continued success.”However, Airbus is to delay delivery of some A380s until January next year blaming customers’ troubled finances for the move.“We are still aiming for 13 deliveries but one or two could come in January,” said chief operating officer Fabrice Bregier. “Everything will depend on airlines’ capacity to take these planes at the end of the year,” he added.Airbus’s chief executive, Thomas Enders, said it was “too early to relax” over customer financing.