Germany grounds Airbus A400M after Spain crash

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has grounded its Airbus AIR.PA A400M military transport aircraft after a similar plane crashed in Spain during a test flight on Saturday, the defense ministry said.

The move echoes a decision taken by Britain’s Royal Air Force after the crash, in which four people died.

“The (Air Force) chief of staff has suspended operations until further notice,” a German defense spokesman said.

There was no immediate word from France, Malaysia and Turkey, which also operate the aircraft.

Germany took delivery of its first and so far only A400M, with a delay of four years, shortly before the end of 2014.

The country has ordered 53 in total, but intends to sell 13 so that its armed forces will ultimately keep only 40.

Airbus said in April Germany would receive another two to four planes this year after new schedule delays. It plans to deliver 14-18 A400Ms in total this year.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Tim Hepher; Editing by Andrew Roche