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US Airways announces Airbus order deferral, US DoD rejects calls for EADS to be penalised


US Airways announced yesterday that it was deferring 54 Airbus aircraft. Some aircraft scheduled for delivery from 2010 to 2012 will be pushed back to at least 2013, while other aircraft due to commence delivery in 2015 will be deferred to 2017.

The decision does not come as a surprise for Airbus, which confirmed that it has already factored the deferments into its 201 production planning. For US Airways, the deferral will cut USD2.5 billion from capital costs between 2010 and 2013. The carrier will take delivery of just four Airbus aircraft - two A320s and two A330s – in 2010, with an additional 42 A320 narrowbodies to follow in 2011 and 2012.

Airbus “continues to work very closely with all its customers to manage the crisis together” according to spokeswoman Mary Anne Greczyn. The manufacturer’s production decisions for 1H2010 are mostly locked in (with a three to four months lead time for narrowbodies and four to six months for widebodies), but 2H2010 production remains less than clear. Airbus wants to maintain production in 2010 at similar levels to 2008 (483 aircraft delivered) and 2009 (forecast deliveries of 490 aircraft).

Ashton Carter, US Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, rejected calls from US politicians that the US Department of Defence take into account the recent WTO ruling into account when considering the US Air Force’s USD35 billion aerial tanker contract. The Air Force competition between Boeing and EADS/Northrup Grumman is expected to be resolved in 2010, after two previous decisions were overturned.

According to Mr Carter, speaking to Reuters, the “only action we can take at this point... (is to make sure) that the taxpayer is held harmless in respect of any damages that end up being awarded in any of the cases before the WTO”. Draft bidding rules have already been released for the contract, and final rules are expected to be released before the end of the year.

EADS shares were down 2.0% on Tuesday, while Boeing was down 1.5%. Embraer gained 0.3%.

Selected Aviation suppliers’ daily share price movements (% change): 24-Nov-09

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