• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
  • Editorial Calendar 19-20
BW Businessworld

Turkey, Britain, Germany Ground A400 Military Planes

Photo Credit :

Turkey, Britain, Germany and Malaysia have temporarily grounded their Airbus A400M military transport planes after one crashed near Seville airport in southern Spain during a test flight.
France, which has six of the planes, said it would only carry out "top priority flights" with A400M until more facts emerge on what caused the accident.
The A400M was developed by Airbus to replace aging Hercules transport planes. The plane that crashed had been due for delivery to Turkey in June.
Turkey announced it had suspended flights of its A400Ms.
"Turkey's air force has temporarily suspended the flights of its two Airbus A400M after the fatal crash of a similar type of aircraft in southern Spain," state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
The planes have been temporarily grounded as part of "security measures," said Anatolia.
Britain's Ministry of Defence earlier said in a statement that "as a precaution" its two A400M aircraft "are temporarily paused."
Malaysia also decided to temporarily stop using its new A400M, which was delivered in March this year.
Malaysian Defence Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said on Twitter the plane would remain grounded till "we know more".
The wave of groundings prompted Spain's Defence Minister Pedro Morenes, speaking at an EU meeting in western France, to urge countries not to make "hasty conclusions" before the investigation into the crash was complete.
"One must not fall into easy criticism of a company which has shown itself to be extremely dynamic and competitive," Morenes said.
The plane costs more than 100 million euros and is assembled in Seville.
There have been problems in delivering the planes on time and caused a management shake-up earlier.
"The A400M flight test programme is continuing as planned unless we are presented with evidence that would cause us to stop," an Airbus spokesman said.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked for maximum transparency from Airbus during the crash investigation.
Four of the six Spanish test crew were killed when an A400M crashed in the first fatal incident involving the new troop and vehicle transporter manufactured by European aerospace group Airbus.
A spokesman for the German armed forces said they had decided to "suspend until further notice the test flights of the German defence forces' sole A400M." 
The spokesman added that "since its delivery in December the plane "has been in the air on a regular basis".
"Now we are awaiting results from Airbus on why the A400M crashed near Seville. We are in constant contact with Airbus." 
France meanwhile said it had "no facts compelling us to ground our A400M fleet." 
French air force spokesman Colonel Jean-Pascal Breton said that technically, the planes conformed to army requirements and while the army would not skip over security issues "we don't have any reasons to ground the fleet at this stage."