Airbus is confident its delayed A400M military transport plane will fly by the end of the year but dismissed a magazine report that its maiden flight could come as soon as Nov. 30 as “fantasy”.
No date has yet been set for the first flight, a spokesperson for Airbus Military said.
German weekly magazine Focus said the aircraft could take to the skies as soon as Nov. 30, citing sources close to suppliers.
“Many dates will be leaked by people who have little knowledge of all the work which is to be undertaken until the first flight and, in particular, all the ground tests which are all dependent on each other,” the spokesperson said.
“Therefore any date which may be circulated is a fantasy.”
Europe’s largest military project, designed to provide badly needed capacity to transport troops and heavy equipment to combat zones such as Afghanistan or to carry out humanitarian relief operations, has been dogged by technical delays and mounting financial losses and is four years late.
Airbus parent EADS is in talks to rescue the €20 billion (R218 billion) contract with the seven European nations that ordered the plane: Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey.
Sources close to the matter told Reuters earlier this month that technicians had completed engine trials on the A400M, clearing a significant obstacle to its maiden flight.
“We are very confident to be able to fly the aircraft by the end of the year and hopefully before and we cannot confirm any date,” the spokesperson added. “It will take to the air as soon as the test pilots are ready.”
Pic: A400m military plane