* Planemaker tests fix for doors on A380 superjumbo
* German report says will reach break-even later than
* Airbus says still on track for A380 breakeven in 2015
(Adds comments, detail of planes checked, Lufthansa comment)
FARNBOROUGH, England, July 16 Planemaker Airbus
on Wednesday sought to allay any concerns over the
impact of door problems on its A380 superjumbo after a German
broadcaster reported its breakeven target could be delayed by
Airbus said it was testing improvements to the doors after a
recent plane diversion and several incidents involving noise
onboard and said the programme was still on track to reach
breakeven in 2015.
"It's a comfort issue, not a safety issue," a spokesman said
at the Farnborough Airshow where Airbus has been displaying a
test aircraft with blue stripes above some of its doors, marking
the place where new coverplates are undergoing trials.
The door glitches will not affect the group's plans to
deliver 30 of the aircraft each year, he added.
On Jan. 4, a Singapore Airlines A380 carrying 494
people made an emergency landing in Baku, Azerbaijan, after
problems with the door seal led to oxygen masks being deployed.
German broadcaster NDR reported that checking and modifying
all the doors to resolve the problem would mean the A380
programme reaching break-even several years later than expected.
The report piled further attention on the superjumbo at the
Farnborough Airshow where Airbus has already been under mounting
pressure from Qatar Airways over problems in finishing the cabin
The problems that have delayed delivery of Qatar's first
three A380s are not officially connected to the door issue, but
may not ease efforts to speed up delivery after the head of the
airline repeated he was committed to "demanding" standards.
On Tuesday, Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker also called for
compensation over the delay and said that besides the cabin
problems, the delay was linked to a further issue that he
declined to identify. The airline declined further comment.
An Airbus spokesman said it expected a fix for the doors
would be approved in the autumn by European safety authorities
and it would then be fitted to planes rolling off the production
line from 2015, with successive upgrades for planes already in
The current plan is to do this during regular maintenance,
thus meaning the planes would not be on the ground any longer
than usual, he said.
The planemaker has booked orders for 324 of the planes,
which each have 16 doors, from 20 customers. So far, 135 have
been delivered to 11 customers.
Airbus said fatigue had been found on fewer than 10 percent
of the more than 400 doors inspected on the A380.
A380 customer Lufthansa said it was aware of the
issues but hadn't experienced any problems. A spokesman said if
necessary Lufthansa could keep using some old 747s to maintain
service but it was not yet clear what the impact would be.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Tim Hepher; Additional
reporting by Maria Sheahan in Frankfurt; Editing by Mark Potter
and James Dalgleish)