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Air-France-KLM Seeks To Delay A380 Deliveries

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Air France-KLM said it is in talks with Airbus about postponing deliveries of the next A380s it has on order by several months as it tries to rein in spending and reduce debt.

The Franco-Dutch carrier operates a fleet of eight A380s, after taking delivery of two more last year, and has a further four on order.

"Discussions are still in progress with Airbus to define new dates regarding deliveries of the next A380s still on order," Air France-KLM said in its latest annual registration document.

Air France-KLM is seeking to return to profit and cut debt by EUR€2 billion (USD$2.6 billion) by the end of 2014 after being battered by high fuel costs, a worsening cargo business and tough competition from Gulf and low-cost carriers.

The carrier said in its registration document that it had cancelled an option "which could no longer be extended" to buy an A380 last year and again postponed the delivery of one Boeing 777-300ER by a year.

The airline said it had also agreed with the plane makers to delay deliveries of three Airbus A320s and one Boeing 777-300.

An Air France-KLM spokeswoman said the airline was finalizing talks with Airbus to delay delivery of its ninth A380 until September this year from an unspecified date and its 10th until April 2014 from 2013.

The other two, due in 2014, would come at an unspecified later date, she said.

Airbus has said it is aiming to sell around 30 A380s this year. It said in January that it expected to produce 25 A380s in 2013, and it delivered four in the first quarter.

Air France-KLM added that discussions were still ongoing with Airbus and engine supplier Rolls-Royce to finalize an order for Airbus A350s.

The carrier placed the provisional USD$7 billion order for 25 wide-bodied A350-900 passenger jets in September 2011 at the same time as ordering 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, a deal which has since been confirmed.

(Reuters)

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