No Rift Between Etihad and Airbus

Blagnac, 13 July 2009 - Airbus confirmed on Friday that Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways had cancelled an order for a long-haul aircraft wrecked during testing but said there was no commercial fallout from the decision. This represents an aircraft which was scrapped before it could be delivered to the customer in November 2007, and does not represent a customer cancellation, an Airbus spokesman said in an emailed statement to journalists clarifying June order numbers.

The A340 crashed into a blast barrier when all four of its engines were tested at full thrust with the parking brake on, leaving four of the 9 people on board seriously injured.

The plane's cockpit sheared off and part of the underbelly was destroyed in the accident at Airbus headquarters in France.

The plane was one of eight A340-600s ordered by Etihad, of which five have already been delivered.

Cancelling the order means Airbus will not have to rebuild the plane.

Although many airlines are trimming fleet expansion plans due to the recession, Etihad said on Wednesday the cancellation did not reflect a change of strategy and that it had not cancelled or deferred any other jets.

The fast-growing airline has a total of USD$22 billion of Airbus and Boeing jets on order at current list prices, including 10 Airbus A380 superjumbos and 35 Boeing 787s.

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