I’m at Airbus Military’s San Pablo site in Seville, Spain today, for the long-awaited formal handover of the first production A400M.
Of course, it’s not as simple as that, as MSN7 was actually delivered to the French air force on 1 August, and is already at the service’s Orleans air base. So, today’s event – which is being described as a “symbolic handover” – will use second aircraft MSN8, which is apparently also due to be accepted very soon.
I’ll be filing later in the day for Flightglobal about the ‘Reporting for duty’ ceremony, which will include turns by EADS chief executive Tom Enders, Airbus Military president Domingo Urena-Raso and French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. Thankfully it’s all being done inside the hangar here, as the weather is wet. Once they’re done talking, the dignitaries will be off to Orleans for some more ceremony, this time involving the lead aircraft.