Airbus concedes some A400M problems are ‘home-made’

Airbus concedes some A400M problems are ‘home-made’

Airbus concedes some A400M problems are ‘home-made’ Airbus chief Tom Enders conceded in a newspaper interview yesterday that some of the “massive problems” dogging the European airplane manufacturer’s new military transporter, the A400M, were of the group’s own making.

“We underestimated the engine problems,” Enders told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. 

At the start of the program, Airbus had “let itself be persuaded by some well-known European leaders into using an engine made by an inexperienced consortium,” Enders said.

Furthermore, it had let itself be roped into assuming full responsibility for this new type of turbo-prop engine, he continued.

“These are two massive problems which we’re now paying for.” But in addition to the “insufficient quality of the supplier ... home-made problems are also playing a role,” Enders said.

Despite delivery delays and limitations in its operational readiness, Enders said governments should not start looking for alternatives.  “To write off the A400M would be the biggest mistake, because this plane has enormous potential,” Enders said.

Turkey among joint commissioning

One day, the new transporter would “form the backbone of the European transporter fleets” and would be an exporting success, he argued. 

The A400M is to replace the German army’s ageing Transall aircarft.  

The new military transport was commissioned jointly in 2003 by the governments of Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey. 

Originally planned for launch in 2011, its delivery was substantially delayed by a string of technical problems and different requests from the governments. 

And new faults were discovered in the propeller engines earlier this year.