Airbus says A400M contractual and organisational set-up a “recipe for disaster”

Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders says the current organisational and contractual structure of the pan-European planemaker’s much-delayed A400M Loadmaster military medium lift transport is a “recipe for disaster”.

Reuters reports Enders told journalists at a briefing at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, to announce the company`s annual results that the project needs a significant overhaul.

“We want to continue the programme, but we want to continue it in a way that ensures success for the customers and success for the industry.
“With the current contractual and organisational set-up we will not get there; this is a recipe for disaster.
“It would be irresponsible to continue on the current track, so our task is not to put the programme back on track but to put it on a new, solid and realistic footing in terms of the schedule, the organisation and financials,” Enders said.
“I am absolutely convinced that we cannot and should not continue the programme under the current circumstances.”
South Africa was slated to receive eight of the aircraft for about R7.4 billion from next year under Project Continent, but Airbus and its owner, EADS, last week said first delivery will follow three years after the first test flight. That event must still be scheduled but is widely expected for this year, meaning delivery before 2013 is unlikely.  
At least two SA companies – Aerosud and Denel – are workshare partners in the A400M programme.
Reuters adds EADS also called for changes to the way Europe’s largest single military procurement deal is carried out and requested more time to carry out tests. “The move followed two years of delays that EADS blames on a group of engine makers,” the report adds. “EADS wants to add at least another year and says it was unfairly saddled with all the risk.”
In his presentation Enders noted that the prototype Europrop International (EPI) TP400-D6 powerplant made its first flight on a testbed aircraft on 17 December.
EPI is a joint venture involving Britain`s Rolls Royce, SNECMA of France, Germany`s MTU and Spain`s ITP aero-engine concern.
Enders says the test “should pave the way for the start of the actual flight test phase later this year, followed by an extended period of development, prior to service entry in the future.”
Reuters says Britain this week rejected talk of a 3-4 year delay. But AFP says Airbus is refusing to set a timetable for the programme “until technical issues are resolved”.

Date Country EIS Orders
May 27, 2003 Germany 2010 60
May 27, 2003 France 2009 50
May 27, 2003 Spain 2011 27
May 27, 2003 UK 2010 25
May 27, 2003 Turkey 2009 10
May 27, 2003 Belgium 2018 7
May 27, 2003 Luxembourg 2017 1
December 15, 2004 South Africa 2010 8
December 8, 2005 Malaysia 2013 4
Total:     192

Source: Airbus A400M, wikipedia