Another dip in expected deliveries of Airbus's A380 superjumbo knocked shares in parent company EADS on Tuesday, reminding investors of the challenges still facing Europe's largest industrial venture.

Airbus said it would deliver one fewer aircraft than planned this year after agreeing to push a delivery into 2010.

It cut its 2009 delivery target to 13 planes from the most recent target of 14, as reported by Reuters.

A spokesman said it would still deliver over 20 A380s in 2010.

EADS shares fell as much as 1.5 percent, lagging frail European shares, and closed down 1.1 percent at 14.97 euros.

On a brighter note for Europe's largest aerospace group, a Belgian minister said everything pointed to a deal being reached by year-end as planned on Europe's largest defense project, the delayed Airbus A400M military transport plane.

A380 production targets have been revised down repeatedly since wiring installation flaws were exposed in 2006, leading to a crisis from which EADS been recovering only gradually.

This time the impetus for the delay appeared to come from the buyer, Singapore Airlines .

It is one of three carriers operating the world's largest airliner, which sells for $327 million at list prices.

Singapore Airlines said this month it wanted to delay a total of eight future A380 deliveries, becoming the latest airline to push back new aircraft in the face of a slump in air travel.

EADS Chief Executive Louis Gallois told Reuters on Monday this could result in one plane slipping to 2010.

Price cutting and weak traffic have starved many airlines of cash needed to pay for aircraft when they are delivered, and industry body IATA warned on Tuesday that carriers remained far from profit despite an upturn in traffic.

Still, some analysts were reluctant to take their focus off production at Airbus itself. They feared some of the gremlins that cost the planemaker two years of lost A380 production might still put pressure on the delivery schedule or drive up costs.

Paris brokerage Oddo Securities said EADS, already facing a potential major provision for the A400M, may be forced to take a further charge this year for ongoing A380 production problems.

The delivery of one fewer aircraft in 2009 has a marginal revenue impact and is almost invisible at EADS operating income level, but this delay puts Airbus execution risks back in focus.


The 525-seat A380 has dazzled aviation enthusiasts but provided a turbulent ride for EADS investors in recent years.

EADS shares have risen 25 percent this year, outperforming the Paris market's blue-chip index <.FCHI> by 5 percent.

But the company saw a quarter wiped off its market value in June 2006 after it was found that bundles of wiring made in Germany did not fit into planes being assembled in France.

The tantalizingly small wiring gaps forced Airbus to transfer 2,000 German workers to Toulouse to help install the 500 km of wiring on each of the first 25 planes by hand.

Company officials said 1,000 of these workers were still in Toulouse and a few hundred would stay permanently as part of a normal re-assignment process among Airbus's 55,000 staff.

Financial analysts are watching closely as Airbus shifts into a second automated production phase known as Wave 2. Its success will determine how quickly the A380 makes a profit.

We have just recently delivered the first Wave 2 aircraft, and the second will follow very soon, Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said, adding that production was heading toward two aircraft per month.

(Additional reporting by Sven Egenter, Niklas Pollard, editing by Will Waterman)