Airbus Military Targets India as It Revives Delayed Export Drive

Airbus Military is preparing to push A400M troop-transporter sales to India and other countries as the aircraft maker ramps up the pursuit of overseas customers to turn a profit on Europe’s largest defense program.

Airbus is putting more efforts into exports after delays in completing the development program held back those activities for several months, Domingo Urena-Raso, the head of Airbus Military, said in an interview in Berlin yesterday.

Deliveries of the A400M to the main customers are set to begin in the second quarter. An engine-related development glitch forced a schedule revision this month beyond the end-of-March contractual deadline. Delays on the 20 billion-euro ($25 billion) A400M have led to Airbus Military parent European Aerospace, Defence & Space Co., to concede it will lose money on the program unless exports are secured.

“India is one of the key customers for this plane,” Urena-Raso said at the Berlin air show. “Once certified, it is our intention to bring this aircraft as soon as we can to India.”

Persian Gulf countries were also supposed to get a taste of the A400M this year, though the additional work on the engines postponed that push, the Airbus Military head said.

Airbus Military is in talks with France about the financial implications of the latest delays, EADS Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said in Berlin. Those discussions are going on even this week. Urena-Raso said it is not clear if there will be any penalties, though if there were any, they would probably be minor given the short delay.

He would not discuss how liabilities would be handled between EADS and Europrop International, the engine joint venture of Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, MTU Aero Engines, Rolls-Royce and Safran SA’s Snecma division. The gearbox, the cause of the latest delays, is made by Avio in Italy.

Airbus still plans to deliver four A400Ms to France and Turkey next year.

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