Here is the portion of the German interview with Airbus CEO Thomas Enders concerning the A380 situation. “MB” is the German reporter; “TE” is Thomas Enders. The transcript was made available by Airbus.
MB: Good Mood you could need, as not all things went as optimal in the last years.
TE: This can be said like that.
MB: Let’s talk about some of these things. The Airbus A380, the most known topic. The new large aircraft, where big delays occured in the past. And again,as reported in the last days, there should be new dealys. Is this correct?
TE: I cannot answer you this question here and now. I said last week that we currently run a major review, the result does not exist so far. Why do we do this? This is quite easy: Our plan to ramp-up production is definitely quite ambitious. We want to deliver this year – after delivering the 1st to SIA last year – 13 aircraft, then double this number and double again. In addition, there is the change-over from the so-called WAVE 1 to the WAVE 2, simply meaning that WAVE 1 has been handwork/manual work – this has not been and is not an industrial process. The second wave then foresees to run up a real industrial process, including all corresponding, existing tools, especially to get the electrics under control in the sense of a -like we call it – digital mock-up, a digital image. And this crosspoint quasi prompted me to say that we now have to look at this and to see if we indeed manage the production or if this is not the case respectively which counteractive measures we have to take.
MB: Regarding the electrics you are a burnt child. The original problems which lead to the first big delay with all its consequences, irritation on customers’ side etc., were also connected with electrics, tubes etc. How can this happen at all? Such a in detail planned project? How can things get ot of hand as strong?
TE: Mr. Beise, please relieve me of this. I could easily continue on talking the next remaining 30 minutes about cables and cabeling-problems. Let me describe it as follows: We had abosultely underestimated the complexity of this aircraft – in development, but also in production and equipment- especially also here in Hamburg. We then had not been able to equip sections- for delivery to the final assembly line in TLS – here and at other sites in a way that we could efficiently assembly them. We have today where we sit around 2000 Germans in TLS who work on this aircraft, and especially rework the work in TLS, which upstream, meaning in HAM, had not been finished in time.That this is not the most efficient way of working, that this is very costly for the company, is comprehensible. We now have to come back as fast as possible to “Plan A” , meaning equpiment of the sections in HAM and other sites before they get in the FAL and block it with rework, in order to enable the FAL to then work properly and enable us to ramp-up.
UW: Let’s come back again to the figueres. You want to deliver 13 A380s next year..
TE: no,no ..
UW: ..in this year, 2008. You just said you cannot confirm the information from the weekend, that this number probably cannot be achieved. On how many will you come?
TE: If I knew this, I would have already finished my review. But I have not. I pointed out last week on a tour in the Middle East in Dubai that we are doing this examination and the moment this is finished, we will say what we believe to be able to achieve in this year and what we believe to achieve in the next year. This is our duty for our customers, who have corresponding capacities in their planning. But this has to be done properly and I will not make a snapshot and shoot figueres out of the hip. We know how much depends on that within the company.
UW: This means a date for the start of serial production you cannot name?
TE: Oh, we are within the serial production. I mean we already delivered 3 aircraft this year, SIA now has a total of 4, company UAE is urgently waiting for their first aircraft this summer, company Qantas, these are the 3 airlines which get equipped this year, the aircraft are standing here in HAM for visit – or I have to say actually not, as the aircraft are under strongest “sealing”, as the friends from UAE and QFAs of course do not want to release their cards. Also – this is running! SIA will have 6 aircraft by summer, followed by UAEW and QFA. I do not want to see the impression that we are still sticking in the fogg like 2 years ago. This is not the case. It is now simply a thig we are always doing – also in other programmes