Carrying a Heavy Load

Airbus’s A400M military transport aircraft faces additional schedule slips. Already six months behind pace, the aircraft could suffer more delays after its first flight this summer, reports the Wall Street Journal, quoting Louis Gallois, chief executive of Airbus parent company EADS. (Article requires subscription.) Further, Airbus will lose money building the first 180 of them, the newspaper states, citing Hans Peter Ring, EADS chief financial officer. The company conceived the four-engine A400M to fill the capability gap between the smaller C-130 and larger C-17 aircraft built in the United States, and several NATO countries signed on despite the negative view espoused by then-SACEUR USMC Gen. James Jones. Airbus has promised first delivery in 2009 and agreed to cover any cost overruns on the first 180 A400Ms that it is building for seven European customers. NATO has also agreed to purchase several C-17s.