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Increasing availability key to future A400M sales, Airbus official

Airbus notes that availability of its A400M remains an issue for current and prospective users, and that the company is committed to addressing outstanding problems. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Airbus needs to improve the availability of its A400M Atlas if it is to build on the transport aircraft's recent export successes, a senior company official said on 30 November.

Speaking at the virtual Airbus Trade Media Briefing (TMB) 2021, Michael Schoellhorn, the CEO of the Airbus Defence and Space division, said that poor availability remains an issue for the A400M, but that the issue is being addressed as the company looks to build on the first two export contracts for 15 years that it secured during recent months.

“There is still something to be done and improved around availability – we are very aware of that, and I have made this a part of my time every day to look at that,” Schoellhorn told Janes and other defence media. “It is extremely important that we win the trust of our customers every day by [increased] availability, and it is part of the capability of the aircraft that we provide. I was a military aviator myself. I know what it feels like when a mission cannot be conducted because the aircraft is not ready.”

As Schoellhorn explained, the availability of the A400M is being adversely impacted by the capability upgrades that are being retrofitted across the international fleet, while some operators have struggled to finance such a large and complex capability. “I think these are two factors that play a crucial role,” he said.

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