Following slippage in its delivery of A400M military airlifters, Airbus Defence and Space has named Fernando Alonso as head of its Military Aircraft business unit, effective March 1. Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, will act as interim head of Military Aircraft until this date. Fernando Alonso replaces Domingo Ureña-Raso, who has resigned from his position.
Alonso has been working with Airbus for many years and has a significant knowledge of the A400M as well as other military aircraft programs. Since 2007, Alonso has served as head of Flight Test Operations at Airbus.
The A400M program will also be restructured, which Airbus says is designed to allow more efficient operations inside the Airbus Defence and Space Division and to put the A400M program and its industrialisation in a position to best address shortfalls:
- Responsibility for all industrial-related activities is being shifted to the Operations organisation, which is led by Pilar Albiac-Murillo.
- Program-related activities such as development and customer deliveries will remain in the scope of the Military Aircraft business unit, under the lead of Rafael Tentor, who serves as head of the A400M program.
“I expect that the new team will rapidly address existing shortfalls in the most efficient way,” says Gerwert. “Every pilot who has flown the A400M to date praises the aircraft’s performance. It has even already been deployed in military operations and it will be a strategic asset to any of our customer nations’ Air Forces. But as for the integration of military capabilities and the industrial rampup in particular, we have not been performing at the level which had been expected from us. That is unacceptable and we will fix that. We are fully conscious of how dependent the customer nations are on this new airlifter and therefore take their concerns very seriously. We will do our utmost to overcome them so the customers receive the aircraft they need in the shortest time possible.”
Airbus says it is continuing its intense and constructive discussion with OCCAR (Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation) and the customer nations regarding the A400M delivery schedule and will communicate on this once those have been concluded. With regard to any potential financial impact of the revised delivery schedule, a review is currently underway as indicated in November and its results are expected to be communicated at the Group’s 2014 Annual Results Disclosure on Feb. 27, 2015.