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Airbus to continue A400M test flights, crash victims honoured


Airbus A400M military transport plane. Photo: Airbus Group.

MADRID (AFP): Airbus said it will carry on with test flights of its A400M military transport plane despite a crash in Spain of one of the aircraft that killed four employees who were honoured on Monday with a moment of silence at the company's factories.

The European aerospace giant has decided to keep producing the model as well in the wake of Saturday's crash, the first involving a A400M plane, a company spokesman said.

The next test flight is scheduled to take place today in Toulouse in southern France where Airbus' headquarters are located, he added.

All planes undergo a series of test flights before they are delivered to customers.

The A400M plane that crashed in a field and burst into flames just north of Seville's airport after hitting a power line was on a test flight before it was due to be delivered to Turkey in July.

Three passerby helped emergency services workers pull two of the plane's six crew members alive from the wreckage. The pair, an engineer and a mechanic, are in hospital in serious condition.

Spanish authorities on Sunday located the two cockpit recorders and handed them over to the judge investigating the cause of the accident.

The online edition of German news weekly Der Spiegel said the accident may have been due to engine failure.

"It appears that just after takeoff several engines of the aircraft had problems," the magazine reported citing testimony of the two survivors of the accident.

The survivor, who was seriously injured, has so far only been questioned about the crash "very briefly", it added.

Difficulties in the development of the plane's giant turboprop engines was one of the causes of the sustained delays in building A400M aircraft since the decision to build the model was taken in 2003.

In addition to production and delivery delays, the programme ran 30 per cent or USD 7 billion over budget.

Earlier today, Malaysia became the latest country to ground its only A400M while it waits for the causes of the accident to become clearer, following similar decisions by Britain, Germany and Turkey.

France, which has six of the planes, has said it would only carry out "top priority flights" with the A400M until more facts emerge on what caused the accident.

Tags:

Airbus  A400M  Crash  Military  

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