First flight of the Airbus Military A400M transport has slipped by several months from the first quarter of next year, according to majority stakeholder EADS, which has for the first time also hinted at the possibility of making late customer deliveries.
Final assembly will start at EADS Casa's Seville facility in August
EADS revealed in its half-year results report that the A400M's flight debut has been delayed until "the summer of 2008", and said "the consequence on deliveries and cost is under assessment".
This work is being headed by Airbus Military managing director Carlos Suárez, who assumed responsibility for the programme on 1 July.
"The [A400M] programme contains material risks on the overall time schedule, and system providers continue to face challenges that may infer late design implications," says EADS.
A key area of concern is the aircraft's Europrop International-developed TP400-D6 turboprop engine, test flights of which have already been delayed from earlier this year until at least the fourth quarter (Flight International, 26 June-2 July).
Meanwhile, delayed final assembly of the A400M is to start at EADS Casa's Seville site in southern Spain in late August, following a five-month delay from Airbus Military's previous plan to start work in late March.
The company plans to meet its commitment to deliver the first A400M to the French air force in late 2009.