A380 flight delays

16 November 2006
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16 November 2006 | Geraint John

Delays to Airbus's A380 superjumbo are the result of "internal problems" and not the fault of the company's suppliers, says a senior executive.

Speaking to an audience of more than 200 procurement professionals at the ProcureCon event in Brussels this month, Matthias Gramolla, vice-president of sourcing strategy at Airbus's parent company EADS, strongly refuted press reports alleging supply chain failures lay behind the embarrassing delays to its new flagship aircraft.

"The problems we are facing with the A380 are internal ones - they are homemade; our suppliers cannot be blamed," he said.

Gramolla declined to elaborate on what these internal problems were, but added: "Our suppliers have helped us, and in some cases have gone beyond their contractual obligations."

But while that meant Airbus's sourcing function was not to blame either, "we are expected to be part of the solution", he said.

The company recently launched a new programme, called Power 8 ( News, 19 October), in direct response to the A380 problems, to cut costs, maximise cash flow and speed up development.

The delays have hit Airbus hard, with some launch customers demanding compensation or postponing their orders.

Gramolla also denied reports that Airbus was seeking to slash its supply base. "Our intention is not to take any suppliers out of our supply chain," he said. "But we do want to take another look at the suppliers we work with."

EADS as a group still dealt directly with too many small firms, he said. "We want to give those tier-one suppliers more responsibility to manage their supply chains." EADS currently spends ?29 billion (£19.4 billion) with 25 key suppliers.

SMnov2006

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