UK confirms A400M order cut to 22

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Britain will trim its order for Airbus’s A400M military transport plane to 22 from 25 to finance its share of an agreed increase in the price of the project, the Ministry of Defence says. “The A400M partner nations have reached a heads of terms agreement with Airbus Military, which will provide the basis for a formal contract amendment in the coming months,” defence secretary Bob Ainsworth said in a statement.

“Under the revised agreement, Airbus Military will deliver at least 22 aircraft (to Britain).”

EADS, the parent of European planemaker Airbus, clinched a long-awaited bailout for the over-budget A400M earlier this month, saving the project from collapse after it ran into financial difficulties.

Britain had been expected to trim its order for 25 planes, out of 180 to be built for European customers, to finance its share of an agreed 10 percent price hike worth a total 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion). Buying nations — Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey — will meet commitments for a 10 percent price increase with a mixture of fresh money, longer delivery timetables or fewer planes for the same price.