Engine problem 'grounds' A400 at Le Bourget: Airbus

19th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Airbus' A400M military transport plane will not make any flight demonstrations at the Paris International Air Show next week because of a problem with its engines, Airbus Military said Sunday.

The decision was taken "preventively and given the conditions in which you conduct flight demonstrations", an unnamed spokeswoman told AFP after what was described as a minor incident with the engines.

The long-delayed plane will nevertheless take to the skies at Le Bourget, with one arriving Sunday afternoon from Airbus headquarters in the southern French city of Toulouse that will do a fly-by during Monday's inauguration.

The plane will then remain on the ground for the rest of the biannual aerospace showcase.

Airbus Military said the problem would not affect flight tests with a view to a first delivery to France in early 2013.

The seven NATO partner nations backing the plane in April signed the final contract for financing the massively overrun project.

Parent company EADS had threatened to pull the plug on Europe's biggest defence project unless the partner nations stumped up more cash to cover cost overruns of about 5.2 billion euros ($7.0 billion).

Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey agreed the project in 2003 and it was meant to showpiece Europe's independence from US defence suppliers.

Technical problems with the engines are in large part responsible for delays to the project, which is almost four years late.

© 2011 AFP

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