By Bjorn Fehrm
Introduction01 Feb 2015: Six years ago Tom Enders, then-CEO for Airbus (when the parent was named EADS), threatened to stop the A400M project. He then played hardball to get eight European states to understand they had to pay 5bn Euro more or get no plane. Airbus existence could be threatened by a project that its management when the program was launch (CEO Jean Pierson) did not want but that the politicians convinced Pierson's successor, Noel Forgeard, to do.
Airbus A400M Atlas landing at Farnborough Airshow. Source: Wikipedia.
Now Tom Enders is CEO of Airbus Group and has to apologize to the same governments that he struck a deal with then to finish the project if Airbus got the money and a consent to three years of delays. Now Airbus can no longer fulfill the terms and the airplane is still falling short of performance specifications. Deliveries have been delayed further and promised capabilities will be delivered later than said. Like then, heads are rolling at Airbus and tighter control is being applied.
The A400M rests between the Lockheed Martin C-130 and the Boeing C-17.
European countries need an airlifter for military and humanitarian missions.
Dirt airstrip capability is needed.
The program will take longer to complete and this time Airbus has to pay.