Fedex is cancelling its order of 10 A380s because of Airbus’ delivery delays, and getting 15 Boeing 777s instead. This comes after Virgin Atlantic’s deferment of its order for 10 planes last month. Of the big customers left (scroll down for ‘A380 Orders So Far’ on this page) Emirates is already making threatening noises and has cancelled some A340 orders, Singapore Airlines could cancel or ask for a deferment (which results in no money flowing into Airbus’ coffers, although I’m guessing they’ll book the revenue anyway), and UPS will be under pressure to look at Boeing as well. Only Lufthansa and Air France look like reliable customers.
Given the number of people Airbus employ, none of this is likely to be well-received in Europe. However, given the reorganisations at Airbus the A380 delays have prompted, a leaner, more effective Airbus may be the lemonade that came out of the A380 lemon.