Airbus Military (stand A140) has run all four engines on the prototype A400M, putting it on track to fly the delayed airlifter before the end of the year.
The European manufacturer has meanwhile revealed that Riyadh is the favoured location for the in-country modification of five of the six A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports ordered by Saudi Arabia.
After the four engines on the first A400M were run one by one on 15 November, Airbus Military said at the show it was expecting to run all four engines at the same time by today.
© Airbus Military
"We are quietly confident that we will be able to do the first flight this side of the new year," Airbus Military vice-president defence capability marketing, Peter Scoffham, said at the show today.
The next steps before first flight will be low- and high-speed taxi trials. Airbus Military aims to bring the A400M to the Berlin air show in June 2010, says Scoffham.
"I think this aircraft will sell itself as soon as people see it in the sky," he adds.
The first "green" Airbus Military A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport for Saudi Arabia has been delivered to the manufacturer's Madrid, Spain conversion centre.
It arrived in Madrid from Airbus's Toulouse assembly line on 10 November, and the modified aircraft is due to be handed over to the Royal Saudi Air Force in 2011.
The additional five aircraft ordered by Saudi Arabia will be converted in Riyadh in partnership with a yet-to-be-selected local partner. Jeddah had been under consideration as the location for the in-country modification centre.
All three A330 MRTTs ordered by UAE will be converted in Madrid, with the first aircraft due to arrive from Toulouse in January 2010. These aircraft will also be delivered from 2011.