Naughty: Airbus Grounded

With Christmas only a week away, Santa is making his list and checking it twice to see who has been naughty or nice. One company making the naughty list this year and whose managers are getting no presents is European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company's (OTCPK: EADSF) subsidiary Airbus. For the past several years, Airbus has been developing its A380 super-jumbo airliner to better compete against rival Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) , but 2006 has not been a good year for all involved in the jet's development.

2006 was supposed to be the year that the A380, the largest passenger jet ever built, was finally brought to market. But after multiple new defects were found with the plane, orders were delayed. The problems with the A380 were first made public back in June, and a six-month delay was announced to fix wiring issues for the plane's electrical systems. Then, in September, more problems with the plane's wiring were discovered and more delays ensued.

After the first delay with the A380 was announced back in June, Singapore Airlines was scheduled to receive the first of the commercially available A380s by the end of the year. Now, after the delays announced in September, the planes won't be delivered until October of next year. Airbus' gaffe has been Boeing's gain, though, as aircraft orders at Boeing have grown thus far this year, whereas orders for Airbus' planes are down compared to 2005.

To make matters even worse, the CEO of EADS may have taken some goodies out of his stocking too soon, as European regulators are looking at some well-timed stock sales that he made prior to the publicly announced delays of the A380 (but after internally recognizing the need for the delays) and the subsequent tanking of the stock price.

Due to all these mishaps, some of the Airbus' top managers have been less than merrily fired, and shareholder lawsuits have been filed as well. So in honor of all these problems with the A380, we will -- er, we mean Santa will -- put Airbus on the naughty list for 2006.

There's more naughty and nice to be had! Check out the rest of our winners and losers.

While EADS has had some problems this year, not all foreign companies are built the same. To see where The Motley Fool is finding great opportunities outside the U.S., check out a free trial of our latest service,Global Gains.

Fool contributor Brian Lawler does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool'sdisclosure policy urges you to use care when opening the overhead compartments, as contents may have shifted during flight.


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