Germany to Seek Compensation for Delayed Airbus A400M Deliveries

  • CEO Enders says planemaker is working ‘intensely’ on fixes
  • Germany considering leasing or buying alternative aircraft

Germany will seek compensation from Airbus Group SE for delays in delivering the A400M military plane and warned the country may to turn to rival manufacturers to help meet its growing need for transport aircraft.

“We have an airtight contract in which compensatory damages are clearly spelled out,” Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said at the Berlin Air Show on Thursday. “We will make sure this entitlement to damages is carried out.”

The Defense Ministry will decide later this year whether to buy or lease aircraft from Airbus competitors after completing a review of its transport needs and getting a report from the manufacturer detailing the A400M’s technical issues, said Jens Flosdorff, von der Leyen’s chief spokesman.

Germany, the largest customer for the A400M, has grown increasingly frustrated with the delays, which threaten to hamper plans to expand its military reach globally. The country has thus far received just three planes, and a schedule that called for nine deliveries in 2016 is in question amid technical problems including fuselage cracks and faulty engine gearboxes. The A400M -- first ordered by Germany, six other European nations and Turkey back in 2003 -- is already more than four years late and 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) over budget. Germany currently relies on more than 40-year-old planes.

Von der Leyen, who walked past the A400M plane at the show without stopping, said Airbus is required to pay penalties for every day the aircraft is delayed. Her harsh words come a day after Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders visited the event and told reporters the plane is “worth waiting for.” Together with suppliers, Airbus is working “intensely” on resolving production issues, and is seeking solutions in the foreseeable future, he said.

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