- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 20, 2007

BERLIN (Agence France-Presse) — Cabling problems, which have plagued production of the Airbus superjumbo A380 passenger jet, have been resolved, a company spokesman said yesterday.

Airbus’ factory in Hamburg has checked the aircraft’s entire electrical system and all parts are operational, said Rolf Brandt after an upcoming report by Focus magazine was made public.

The check was a “decisive step” in making up for lost time, he said.

The glitches have meant that deliveries of the A380 are running two years behind schedule and the Franco-German company’s long-suffering customers have been told three times that their aircraft would arrive later than projected.

The A380 will hold up to 555 passengers. The latest version of rival Boeing’s 747 jet, which is under development, will hold up to 467 passengers.

Airbus Chief Executive Officer Louis Gallois had said Wednesday that the wiring problems were close to being resolved, signaling good news for first customer Singapore Airlines.

“The new electrical cabling for the first Airbus A380 intended for Singapore Airlines was installed last week,” Mr. Gallois had told journalists, adding that the cabin equipment for the plane, which is in the northern German city, would be installed this week.

“We are determined to complete this first delivery in October 2007, as we announced, and to prepare ourselves for the next deliveries in 2008,” he added.

Managing Director Fabrice Bregier said that the cabling for several aircraft would be completely re-installed and a temporary technical solution had been found to equip the first 25 airplanes.

From the beginning of 2008, the use of new wiring design software such as Catia V and Circe would help with the cabling of aircraft to be delivered from 2009.

Singapore Airlines has committed to buy 19 A380s with other customers including Thai Airways, China Southern Airlines, Australia’s Qantas, Malaysia Airlines, Korean Air and Virgin Atlantic.

Focus also reported that a German public-private partnership is set to be formed to buy DaimlerChrysler’s up-for-sale 7.5 percent stake in EADS, the parent company of Airbus, in order to maintain German influence in the firm.

Six banks, including Deutsche Bank and U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs, have agreed to buy 60 percent of the stake, worth about $1.9 billion, with the remainder earmarked for Germany’s state-owned development bank KfW and five German states.

An agreement is expected to be signed before the end of January, Focus said.

DaimlerChrysler’s stake in EADS will fall to 15 percent.

Berlin is adamant that the stake being put up for sale by DaimlerChrysler remain in German hands and must not be allowed to fall under French or even Russian control.

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