(Adds quotes, background, Zodiac comment)
TOULOUSE, France, June 28 An Airbus
executive said on Tuesday that France's Zodiac Aerospace
has not yet fully overcome problems with supplies of
cabin equipment, but Airbus was in a good position to meet a
target for A350 jet deliveries.
Deliveries of the new wide-body jet have been held up by
delays or quality problems in the supply of cabin equipment,
including seats and lavatories from Zodiac Aerospace: a
situation recently criticised by the president of Airbus.
"For the cabin, we are back to a very few suppliers who are
critical and Zodiac is probably the most critical one. Zodiac
has not recovered yet," Airbus Group Chief Procurement Officer
Klaus Richter told Reuters.
Asked whether he was most concerned about delays or quality
problems, he said, "I would say it is mainly delays, but it is
A Zodiac spokeswoman reiterated comments made earlier this
month, when the French company cited progress at a California
plant that makes business-class seat backs but noted quality
issues at an aircraft toilet production site in the same state.
After posting a series of profit warnings, the French
supplier of seats, cabin systems and other aircraft parts
recently reaffirmed forecasts for the current financial year,
which foresee operating income or core profit close to that of
"The focus is on the A350 ... and on the US operations of
Zodiac," Richter said, adding the supplier's California base is
"too far away, and they don't get it under control".
These are not the only factors holding up delays of Airbus's
newest long-haul jet, but Richter said the planemaker expected
to meet its target of at least 50 deliveries in 2016.
It has so far delivered 10 of the jets and plans to deliver
an 11th aircraft to Ethiopian Airlines later on Wednesday.
"There are certainly in the context of the A350 a few
technical challenges connected to component and materials
technology," Richter said, without elaborating.
"It is part of the normal learning curve and ... if
everything goes right, we will arrive at 50 aircraft this year,"
he said in an interview coinciding with the opening of a new
headquarters complex for Airbus Group in Toulouse, France.
He said there were more than 40 aircraft in the final
assembly line, adding, "now it is about execution".
(Reporting by Tim Hepher,; Editing by Mathieu Rosemain and