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French newspaper says courier UPS may cancel its order for Airbus A380

UPS, the last remaining customer for the cargo version of Airbus A380, may cancel its order in what would be the latest defection from the long-delayed superjumbo.


September 19, 2007
By Carey Fredericks

PARIS (AP) – Parcel delivery company UPS, the last remaining customer for the cargo version of Airbus A380, may cancel its order in what would be the latest defection from the long-delayed superjumbo, a French newspaper reported Friday.

Business daily Les Echos cited unidentified sources as saying that United Parcel Service Inc. would cancel its order for 10 A380s next week. Such a move has long been rumored.

Airbus spokeswoman Barbara Kracht said Friday that she had no information about a possible cancellation. UPS officials in France would not comment on the report.

The cancellation would leave Airbus with no more customers for the cargo version of the A380, after FedEx Corp. and International Lease Finance Corp. canceled their orders last year amid repeated delays to the plane's construction schedule.

UPS, which is currently scheduled to receive its first plane in the second half of 2009, said last fall it was still considering whether to change the order.

Kracht insisted Friday that the cargo version was “a very good airplane and the market is good.''

A spokesman for Airbus parent company EADS said it is sticking to its A380 cargo aircraft program regardless of how many customers it has.

“The decisive thing is not the number of current orders, but the market perspective in the long run. With 25 planes per year, it is very good,'' EADS spokesman Michael Hauger said.

Les Echos suggested a cancellation wouldn't be all bad for the European planemaker, since it would allow Airbus to concentrate on the passenger version of the A380 _ for which it currently has 142 firm orders _ and potentially save up to one billion euros (US$1.3 billion).

On Wednesday, Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. issued a profit warning largely blamed on the A380, the world's biggest passenger jet, and confirmed it lost its lead in passenger plane orders to rival Boeing Co. last year.

Shares in EADS rose 0.1 per cent to 24.1 euros ($31.21) in Paris trading.