Chile has emerged as a surprise potential buyer for Airbus Military’s A400M transport aircraft, and could be within a month of signing an order for three of the aircraft, according to industry sources at the show.

Chile is understood to be seeking industrial involvement in the A400M project, but it is doubtful this will be secured, as the country approached Airbus Military after the company’s December 2004 deadline to secure workshare on the programme had expired. Santiago had been expected to sign an agreement to join the A400M project on 15 June, but it is now understood to have deferred its decision by around a month.

If it is confirmed, the acquisition will represent the first success for the European project in Latin America. South African industry is already set to secure work on the A400M under a production agreement that was concluded earlier this year, while Malaysia could also become involved if it opts to sign a deal for the aircraft later this year.

  •  US manufacturer AAR has been selected to supply cargo handling systems for the A400M in partnership with Germany’s Pfalz Flugzeugwerke, which will act as prime contractor. The deal is valued at $300 million.

Source: Flight International