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Airbus hopes to land new A400M orders soon
[LE BOURGET] The crash of an Airbus A400M military transport plane last month hasn't affected export orders, the firm's chief executive said Wednesday, adding Airbus hoped to land new customers soon.
An A400M plane crashed during a test flight on May 9 near Seville in Spain, killing four of the six people on board and seriously injuring the two others.
Initial analysis of the black boxes showed that three of the four engines had failed.
Airbus's chief executive Tom Enders told France's Europe 1 radio that the crash was a tragic event but that so far it had not had an impact on orders as countries that use the plane were convinced of its merits.
One of the advantages that the new turboprop offers is that it can take off on shorter runways and rough terrain with up to 37 tonnes of cargo and troops.
Enders said there was lots of interest in the aircraft, including in several countries in the Middle East and Asia, and that he hoped to sign more contracts in the near future.
The A400M has been flying throughout the week at the Paris Air Show, which runs until Sunday.
Even before the crash last month, the plane has been plagued by years of production delays and costly overruns.
European nations who pushed for the development of the aircraft had even considered cancelling the programme at one point.
The first A400M was delivered in 2013, four years late and 6.2 billion euros (US$7.0 billion) over budget.
A total of 174 have been ordered since, but the company has been having difficulty meeting its delivery schedule, prompting Airbus to shake up its management of the programme in January.
It acknowledged at the time that with respect to "the integration of military capabilities and the industrial ramp-up in particular, we have not been performing at the level which had been expected of us."