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Airbus takes another A400M charge

An Airbus A400M at the Dubai Air Show in 2015. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Airbus took a EUR477 million (USD508 million) charge in 2022 on its long-troubled A400M military transport plane, the European aerospace manufacturer announced on 16 February.

Earnings charges for the A400M have totalled approximately EUR6.7 billion since 2014. The aircraft has experienced technical problems, schedule delays, and cost overruns since the programme was launched in 2003.

Despite these challenges, the A400M showed its worth by playing a significant role in evacuation operations in Kabul, Afghanistan, when the Western-backed Afghan government collapsed in 2021, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury told reporters at the company's annual press conference on 16 February in Toulouse, France.

Built in Germany, Spain, and the UK, the A400M flew for the first time in 2009, and the first production aircraft was delivered to the French Air Force in 2013. As of the end of 2022, Airbus had delivered 115 of the 178 aircraft ordered. Deliveries totalled 10 in 2022, up from eight in 2021.

Airbus disclosed the latest charge while releasing its 2022 financial results. While revenue at Airbus Defence and Space rose 11% to EUR11.3 billion fuelled by higher volume for military aircraft and the ramp-up of the Eurodrone, the business segment's earnings before interest and taxes adjusted (EBIT adjusted) fell 45% to EUR384 million, driven mainly by the failed launch of two Earth-observation satellites, delays on the new Ariane 6 launcher, and rising inflation.

Strong performances in Airbus' commercial aircraft and helicopter business segments lifted the company's overall revenue by 13% to EUR58.8 billion and its EBIT adjusted by 16% to EUR5.6 billion.

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