Airbus faces partial A350 delay - report

Airbus reiterated the first delivery date for its A350 passenger jet on Thursday but one of its airline...

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Airbus reiterated the first delivery date for its A350 passenger jet on Thursday but one of its airline customers predicted two of three variants of the plane would be delayed, according to a report.

The head of Airbus parent EADS told shareholders in Amsterdam the first delivery would be in the second half of 2013 as previously stated, but that the programme remained "challenging."

Airbus recently delayed the target date from mid-2013.

The first A350 is expected to be the 314-seat A350-900, the middle of three aircraft spanning 270 to 350 seats.

In its Friday edition released late on Thursday, Le Figaro quoted Cathay Pacific chief executive John Slosar as saying the other two models needed technical refinement and could be delayed. Le Figaro estimated the delay at six months.

Cathay recently ordered 30 A350s.

Airbus has been under pressure from airlines such as Emirates to beef up the A350-1000 to make it more competitive with Boeing's 777, but this could require costly changes to its Rolls-Royce engines.