Airbus sees A400M certification slipping to 2009; first flight delayed by 6 mths


Paris (Thomson Financial) - EADS unit Airbus' A400M high wing

turboprop military aircraft is likely to be certificated by EASA in 2009, not

2008 as originally planned, Tom Williams, executive vice-president programmes

and customer support, confirmed.

The aircraft will make its first flight "at the earliest in May" and more likely as much as six months late, in July next year, Williams said.

EADS chief financial officer Hans-Peter Ring said in July that the programme was suffering from delays that would affect deliveries to customers.

Williams said the complexity of the programme, the number of partners involved, the exacting requirements of military customers and the fact that this is the first high wing turboprodelayp aircraft Airbus has developed contributed to the delays.

Delays to the commercial A380 programme, whose first aircraft was delivered to Singapore Airlines today, also had a limited impact, Williams said. "There was more overlap with the A380 than we would have liked."

Williams confirmed that the aircraft's first customer, the French Air Force, is likely to receive its first aircraft around 6 months late, in 2010. The first delivery had been planned for October 2009.

Williams declined to comment on the level of compensation Airbus may face for the delays.

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