March 29, 2009 / 10:59 AM / 10 years ago

Airbus CEO says A400M programme could fail-paper

FRANKFURT, March 29 (Reuters) - European airplane maker Airbus EAD.PA may not be able to complete the A400M military transport plane programme, Airbus’s chief executive told a German magazine.

“Under the current conditions we cannot build the plane,” Enders told Spiegel Online in an interview on Sunday, adding it would be better to make a painful break than draw out the agony.

Seven countries — Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Turkey — have ordered a total of 180 of the A400M planes and many have expressed anger over four-year delays in delivering the plane.

Enders said he would not make a “pilgrimage to Berlin or Paris to plead for a continuation of the programme under conditions that are not acceptable to us.”

Airbus, owned by aerospace and defence group EADS, has blamed the delays on the companies supplying the A400M’s massive turbo-prop engines. The plane maker faces a risk of billions of euros in penalties for the delays.

Enders told Spiegel Online that the states ordering planes should in the future take on partial responsibility for availability of aircraft engines.

Ruediger Wolf, a state secretary in the German defence ministry, had told Die Welt newspaper’s Saturday edition he expected to receive clarification on the problems delaying the A400M in April. [ID:nLS391517] (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Rupert Winchester)

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