* Ground tests for first A400M satisfactory
* No exact date for flight yet
(Adds detail from Airbus Military letter)
PARIS, Nov 27 Airbus Military unveiled the
timing of the first flight of its long-delayed A400M military
airlifter on Friday a week after successfully running the
transporter's four engines for the first time.
The aircraft is expected to take to the air in the week
beginning Dec. 7, the head of the Airbus unit, Domingo Urena,
said in a letter dated Friday emailed to Reuters.
"The ground tests of the first A400M are progressing
satisfactorily at our facility. This allows us to anticipate a
first flight in the week 50, weather permitting," Urena said.
The 20 billion-euro ($29.9 billion) A400M programme is
Europe's biggest ever defence contract, and the flight will be
keenly awaited by the seven nations buying the plane: Belgium,
Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey.
The A400M is already delayed by three to four years, and
Airbus is pressing for concessions on the terms of the deal,
saying it faces unaffordable losses in delivering the 180
aircraft ordered by the NATO countries.
Germany is leading pressure for the division of European
aerospace and defence group EADS EAD.PA to stick to the terms.
Government officials are due to meet again next week to
discuss the way ahead for the A400M. [ID:nGEE5AP1MR]
((For an analysis on the A400M, please double click on
(Reporting by James Regan, editing by Will Waterman)
((firstname.lastname@example.org; +33 1 49 49 53 84; Reuters