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France wants to salvage Airbus A400M project


The future of the military transport aircraft looks uncertain as Germany shows reluctance to infuse more money into the project.

PARIS (AFP): France has insisted that the building of high-tech Airbus A400M military transporters must go ahead but Germany looked unwilling to plough more money into the much-delayed project.

French Defence Minister Herve Morin said the programme must be completed, responding to a report that the Airbus head wants to pull out, and insisted that client countries share the unforeseen extra costs.

“We want this programme to be completed,” Morin said in a televised interview. “We have put all possible technological efforts into this plane.”

Morin had said earlier that talk of dropping the $28.6 billion project was a bid by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) to gain leverage in refinancing talks.

He pointed the finger at the German government, reportedly reluctant to share the mounting costs.

In Berlin and London, the German and British defence ministries said a meeting of senior officials from nations buying the A400M will be held in London on January 14.

According to the Financial Times Deutschland on Tuesday, Airbus chief Thomas Enders told a group of Airbus directors he “no longer believed in pursuing the programme” and had begun to prepare for it to be terminated.

Morin said on Tuesday that this was “a way of putting pressure on the German government” to help pay for completion of the project.

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