Germany has approved funding for an initial tranche of Airbus Military CompanyA400Mtransports, but a compromise in Berlin continues to raise questions about final go-ahead for the programme.

Late last month, the German parliament approved the release of Є5.1 billion ($4.5 billion) - enough for around 40 aircraft - after defence minister Ruldolf Scharping said that a pledge to pay the other partners damages if Germany does not fund its 73-transport requirement had been removed from the contract.

Scharping has since acknowledged that Germany does not have agreement with its partners - Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the UK - to remove the clause.

Spain's defence minister Federico Trillo-Figueroa says a compromise was reached during a defence ministers meeting last month in Zaragoza. The French defence ministry says, however, that the penalties remain and all the partners will need to approve the change before A400M development starts.

Source: Flight International