The first commercial flight of Airbus Industrie's giant A380 will be delayed as the manufacturer scrambles to reduce the aircraft's weight and get it operating within Europe's stringent noise bylaws. The prototype's first flight, which was last month, was more than 60 days behind schedule and speculation has been mounting that the first delivery - to launch customer Singapore Airlines (SIA) - will also be pushed back. Airbus confirmed that yesterday in Tokyo. 'Yes, it's true, we are going to be a few months late,' Airbus chief commercial officer John Leahy said. 'But then some things are worth the wait.' SIA had scheduled the first flight for March next year. Mr Leahy did not say how late the first delivery would be, but a senior source at Airbus said some of the aircraft could be 'up to six months late', a fact confirmed by SIA yesterday. 'They have just informed us that the aircraft will now not be delivered until the latter half of 2006,' SIA chief executive Chew Choon Seng told the South China Morning Post. As Airbus' launch customer, SIA had been counting on a three to four-month head start on competitors such as Qantas Airways and Emirates, the next in line. It was unclear yesterday whether that advantage was now in jeopardy, but the Airbus source said the aircraft builder was well aware a juggling of delivery schedules would have to reflect the original commitments. 'The lead time is something we are discussing with [Airbus],' Mr Chew said. 'It is something they were aware was important to us when we negotiated the original contract. 'If that does not materialise, there will be a [compensation] cost involved.' Airbus has 139 firm orders for the A380, the industry's biggest aircraft, with more than 500 seats depending on configuration. The prototype was 2 per cent over its maximum zero-fuel weight of 361 tonnes when it rolled out of the factory in January. Airbus has also faced challenges in making it quiet enough to qualify for the noise restrictions at London Heathrow, which expects one in eight flights to be an A380 by 2016. Timothy Clark, the president of Emirates, which has ordered 43 of the aircraft, said it had an understanding an A380 would be delivered in Emirates colours to the Dubai Airshow in November. He said he had heard no official word on the delays from Airbus but that he would not be surprised if deliveries were late. 'I don't know of any new aircraft - from Boeing or Airbus - that's been on time. You get used to it and you build in buffers,' Mr Clark said. 'If it's going to be six to 12 months late, then issues arise. But a month or three the airline community can deal with. 'I would rather [that] they deliver it in 100 per cent dispatch reliability than take it to market too soon and cause us hell.'