Airbus Expects to Close First A400M Export Sale This Year

PARIS --- The president of Airbus Spain, Fernando Alonso, said today that six firm offers have been submitted to relaunch the sales of the A400M military transport aircraft, of which two are being negotiated and one may be concluded this year with an export contract.

Alonso, during a breakfast of Executive Forum, said that despite the problems that have arisen with this plane, mainly due to persistent difficulties which have led to a slowing down of deliveries and, therefore, lower production rates, is an "excellent aircraft "that" will have great commercial success."

He added that the problem of the A400M is that it was born "with unsustainable specifications," as the sum of the needs of different European armies made these specifications "incoherent." To date, Airbus has not yet sold any A400Ms for export, beyond the 174 aircraft ordered by the partner countries.

Alonso pointed out that it has been necessary to "unravel" this mess, and blamed the problem not only on the countries, but on the industry that was not able to be sufficiently critical of these mounting issues.

"We have managed to stabilize it from the industrial point of view," said the head of Airbus in Spain, who said that although there are "three or four things to finish," on the plane "almost everything works."

In the last two years, Airbus delivered 18 and 19 A400Ms, but this year the number of these aircraft of this model assembled in Seville will fall to 15 as previously planned, according to Alonso.

He considered that the program has now stabilized and that customers are happier, so "it is time to sell" to new customers. Six firm offers have been submitted to foreign countries, two of which are being negotiated and one of which could well be concluded this year.


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