Airbus still waiting for Spain A400M test flights to resume

12th June 2015, Comments 0 comments

Airbus is still waiting for Spain to give the green light to resume test flights of the A400M military plane, the company said Friday, after they were suspended in May following a fatal crash.

The Spanish defence ministry had on Thursday announced that some restrictions would be lifted on three of the giant transport planes as Airbus continues working on the model.

But an Airbus spokesman said planes that have recently rolled off the assembly line in the southern Spanish city of Seville would remain grounded and will not undergo the test flights, explaining that the misunderstanding arose from a misinterpretation of the ministry statement.

"The next stage is to be able to restart flights by the assembled planes," the spokesman said. "We understand that is set to happen in the coming days."

The European aircraft maker said Tuesday it hoped to deliver 13 of 17 A400Ms this year if it obtained the green light to resume the test flights.

An A400M crashed during a test flight on May 9 near Seville, killing four of the six people on board and seriously injuring the two others.

The huge propeller-driven transport aircraft was launched in 2003 to respond to the needs of seven NATO members -- Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey -- with Malaysia joining in 2005.

Britain, Germany, Turkey and Malaysia joined Spain in grounding their A400M planes after last month's crash.

An initial analysis of the black boxes revealed that three of the aircraft's four engines failed, Airbus has said.

The crash is only the latest trial for the troubled A400M programme, which was plagued by development setbacks that led to years of delays and costly overruns.

The first aircraft was delivered in 2013, and a total of 174 have been ordered. The aircraft programme has now cost 28 billion euros ($31.6 billion) compared to 20 billion euros ($22.5 billion) originally.

© 2015 AFP

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