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South Africa does not want the A400M

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South Africa does not want the A400M

The South African government announced that it had canceled its order of eight A400M aircraft, carrying a new blow to the program late at least 3 years.

Reuters / HO New

South Africa announced it was canceling its order for eight aircraft Airbus A400M military transport carrying a new blow to this program in a delay of at least three years.

The government said it had "decided to end the controversial contract for the purchase of eight Airbus A400M" during a Council of Ministers.

"Escalating costs would place an intolerable burden on taxpayers at a time when the state budget is already under pressure due to the global crisis," said a spokesman of the government.

According to South Africa, the cost of the devices exploded, from 837 million at the end 2004-3500000000 today. The government says it will be reimbursed for advances paid to Airbus because the manufacturer has not met the deadlines.

Airbus launched the A400M program by signing a contract of 20 billion euros in May 2003 with seven European countries (Germany, Spain, France, UK, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg) to 180 aircraft. In 2005, two export customers had followed: South Africa for eight aircraft and Malaysia for four.

The decision to South Africa's bad timing for Airbus, at a time when the manufacturer is negotiating a new agreement with European governments exasperated by the three-year delay to a minimum accumulated by the program. The first aircraft should indeed not be delivered until 2013, when the current fleets of many countries are in the end of life.

The director of Airbus programs, Tom Williams, said Thursday that the cancellation announced by South Africa was a "complete surprise".

"It is our responsibility to go back to the South Africans and have discussions" but "we would be disappointed if the customer does decide to give up," he added.

Airbus also said to be "studying the potential financial impact of this announcement." EADS, the parent of Airbus, has already had to take $ 2.3 billion reasons for delays in the provision of his plane, which proved more complex than expected to manufacture.

Airbus regretted especially the South African decision it comes within weeks of a decisive step. Mr. Williams was indeed "very confident" that the plane can finally fly before the end of the year in Seville, after development delays especially motor system of the unit.

Despite this setback for Airbus, the future of the A400M should not however being threatened by the only South African decision.

"The program is anyway through its European dimension ', has estimated the spokesman of the French Ministry of Defense.

Still, "it's not very good news" for EADS, which focuses on the export potential of the A400M to monetize the program in the future, a judge CM-CIC analyst.

The South African government has probably not received guarantees of delivery that he hoped by Airbus says the analyst, "I would not be surprised that it places an order for an existing aircraft, a Hercules C-130 US for example, "to have" more visibility "on their calendar.


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