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Airbus chief threatens to ditch A400M military transport aircraft

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, Jan 5, IRNA -- The head of Airbus Thomas Enders has threatened to drop the A400M military transport aircraft project unless clients pick up the cost overruns, estimated to be 11.3 billion euros, the German edition of the daily Financial Times said Tuesday.

Enders predicted there was a 50 percent chance of reaching an agreement ahead of the deadline, set to expire at the end of this month.

Around 100 A400M engineers could be transferred to the new A350 commercial aircraft, if no deal is reached, according to FT.

More than 40,000 European jobs, of which 14,000 of them are in Germany, are tied to the A400M project.

Germany and France -- both of whom are main clients for the military transporter, have yet to agree on what concessions to make to Airbus, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company (EADS).

Germany has reportedly ordered 60 A400M planes, worth 8.6 billion euros.

The A400M military transport aircraft is supposed to replace the ageing Transall fleet of the German air force.

Some 120 aircraft had been ordered for around 20 billion euros, but the cost overruns will make the aircraft vastly more expensive.

The A400M military plane made its maiden flight in Spain on December 11 following numerous delays because of technical problems which lasted several years.

OT**1416

End News / IRNA / News Code 880179



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