EADS has denied a report that Europe’s new military transport plane, the A400M, is likely to be delayed by up to two years. French newspaper La Tribune quoted unidentified suppliers as saying the awarding of key contracts has been held up by infighting among European governments.
EADS did confirm it has launched a full audit of the A400M programme but called that a “precaution” to anticipate any hitches. Nine countries – Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Malaysia, South Africa, Spain and Turkey – have ordered 192 planes.
It is due to make its first flight in January 2008 with deliveries starting from October 2009. This comes two months after EADS announced more delays to its Airbus A380 superjumbo. The company’s shares fell heavily on news that deliveries of the double-decker A380 aircraft would be put back due to production problems.
This latest report also caused EADS shares to decline. At the same time, the company said its Eurocopter subsidiary is to cooperate with an Indian state-run firm to develop a new army helicopter. It is part of a two billion euro EADS investment planned in India over the next 15 years in various research and development facilities.