UPS Scraps Order For A380 Jumbo Freighters

UPS cites delays as reason.

UPS announced March 2 it would cancel an order for 10 Airbus A380 superjumbo freighters, citing delays by the troubled European manufacturer. UPS said a final cancellation decision will be formally presented to Airbus on the first date specified under an agreement reached last week that gives either party the right to terminate the order.

UPS was the sole remaining customer for the cargo version of Airbus's enormous new plane, whose troubled development has created high-level turmoil in Europe.

Last week's agreement specified a revised delivery schedule that delayed UPS's first A380 jumbo freighter from 2010 to 2012. UPS originally expected its first freighter in 2009. UPS said it had intended to complete an internal study of whether it could wait until 2012 for the aircraft, "but now understands Airbus is diverting employees from the A380 freighter program to work on the passenger version of the plane," a company statement said.

"Based on our previous discussions, we had felt that 2012 was a reasonable estimate of when Airbus could supply this plane," said David Abney, UPS's chief operating officer and president of UPS Airline. "We no longer are confident that Airbus can adhere to that schedule. UPS has built one of the largest airlines in the world in order to ensure reliable service to our customers, and we're confident we have the resources to continue doing so in the future."

On February 5, UPS unveiled a multibillion-dollar order for 27 Boeing freighter planes, and said the A380 order was subject to an "ongoing review."

FedEx scrapped its order for 10 A380F cargo planes in November after Airbus announced a two-year delay in deliveries.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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