Australia's Qantas is "looking at all options" after a further delay to the delivery of its 12 super-jumbo A380 planes from Airbus again disrupted its planned Australian dollars 30 billion (US$22.4 billion; euro17.6 billion) expansion, a senior executive said Wednesday.
The airline was originally scheduled to receive the first of the new aircraft this month but after two previous six-month delays, Qantas said Wednesday it expected to receive its first plane in August 2008, nearly two years late.
Executive general manager John Borghetti told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview that while contingencies to maintain capacity were in place to cover the initial delays, "we're also taking a step back and reviewing the whole lot in terms of what we do."
Qantas now expects to have four of the world's largest commercial passenger aircraft by the end of 2008 and seven by mid-2009 but Borghetti said the schedule beyond that hasn't been "locked in" with Airbus.
"Some of these aircraft were supposed to be replacement aircraft and some were for growth, so we're equally looking at all options from maintaining some of (our existing) aircraft longer, that we were going to retire earlier, right through the spectrum of any options we can look at," Borghetti said.
Qantas has already received compensation of A$104 million (US$77.6 million; euro61 million) from Airbus for the earlier delays and Borghetti confirmed it would pursue Airbus for further compensation under the terms of the contract.
He wouldn't comment publicly on what amount Qantas will seek.
Borghetti declined to speculate on whether Qantas would consider canceling the A380 order, saying, "we certainly have still got a very high opinion of this aircraft."
Borghetti said Qantas been shifting some aircraft between its international and domestic fleet to help deal with the delays.
Earlier, Qantas Chief Financial Officer Peter Gregg said in a statement Qantas said it was satisfied the delay was due to production problems at Airbus and not technical issues with the aircraft.
Gregg said the delay meant the airline would have to wait to upgrade services on certain routes.
EADS, the European plane maker's parent company, on Tuesday pushed back the delivery date for the first A380 superjumbos for the third time, causing frustration among many carriers that had been counting on using jumbos on their most heavily traveled air routes.
Bill Lindsay is a correspondent for Dow Jones Newswires.