EADS adds three years to A400M timeline

EADS is proposing that first delivery of the composites-intensive A400M military lifter be scheduled for three years after first flight. 

Airbus Military and the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (EADS, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) announced on Jan. 9 a program proposal for the all-new A400M military transport aircraft that could push delivery of the plane into 2012.

In a statement, Airbus Military and EADS declared a desire to discuss the program schedule along with changes to other areas of the contract including in particular certain technical characteristics of this first-class military aircraft. Airbus Military suggests that it will resume series production only once adequate maturity is reached, based on flight test results. With this proposed new approach, the first delivery of the A400M would then occur around three years after first flight. With potential first flight in 2009, that would put delivery of the first plane in 2012.

First flight of the A400M has already been delayed because of reported problems with the engine systems. Airbus Military is still working with the engine consortium to firm up a date for the first flight. Airbus Military says this proposed new approach will not compromise the ultimate quality of the airplane.