A400M: Update on the €20BN Military Aircraft

Issue: 7 / 2018

It is reported that the A400M programme has been unpredictable in results due to the challenges of developing a multi-role heavy-lift aircraft using new engine and composite technologies which has set back the planning of the seven nations who backed its development and the finances of the company that took on the contract.

Since its launch in 2003, it is estimated that Airbus has recorded provisions of about €8billion, the latest of €1.3 billion in February 2018, on a programme originally expected to cost €20 billion (about $23.4 billion). The first aircraft was delivered four years late to France, which has since been forced to buy alternative aircraft to cover the gap caused by delays. Since that first delivery, the programme has been plagued by persistent capability shortfalls, new delays and technological problems, the gravest of which led to the death of four crew after an aircraft crashed in 2015. Now Fernando Alonso, Airbus’s head of military aircraft, wants to reassure existing and potential customers that the programme’s troubled history is nearing its end and this year the deliveries will commence.