Houston Community News >> Airbus Delivers First A380 Superjumbo Jet to Singapore Airlines

10/15/2007 TOULOUSE, France (AP) - Airbus finally delivered its first A380 superjumbo, a revolutionary behemoth that includes luxury suites equipped with comfy double beds.

Singapore Airlines took delivery of the double-decker jet, the world's largest passenger plane, almost two years late.

Singapore Airlines CEO Chew Choon Seng said it was "well worth the wait." "Until now, the A380 has been Airbus' baby. Today we are here to celebrate this beautiful mature aircraft coming of age," said Airbus President Thomas Enders at a handover ceremony that included a sound and light show.

Acknowledging the planemaker's difficulties, he told Airbus employees: "I realize how unsettling these last times, particularly the last 18 months, have been."

Airbus has gone though five CEOs as multiple delays in the A380 program resulted in massive write-offs and a restructuring plan that foresees 10,000 job cuts over four years - not to mention billions of dollars in lost profit.

Such delays have hurt more than just profits: Airbus' reputation has suffered, and U.S. rival Boeing Co. grabbed the top sales spot in 2006. Boeing last week announced a six-month delay to its hot-selling 787 Dreamliner.

The celebration Monday, attended by about 500 guests, was low key compared with the triumphal 2005 ceremony when the A380 was unveiled. The 10,000-strong audience then included leaders from France, Germany and Britain who were not allowed inside the plane where problems lurked. 

(Contributed by AP)