Airbus shares fall after A400M military plane crash in Spain
Shares in Airbus Group fell yesterday after the fatal crash of an A400M military plane weighed on Europe's largest and already struggling defence project, while the planemaker vowed to overcome the tragedy.
The huge military plane crashed outside Seville on Saturday, killing four crew and prompting Britain, Germany, Malaysia and Turkey to ground their fleets of Europe's new troop and cargo carrier.
France said it would keep flying its planes, while Airbus pledged to resume flight testing today with the head of its military aircraft business, Fernando Alonso, inset, on board.
There was no official word on the cause of the crash but Germany's 'Der Spiegel' magazine reported that one of the survivors had said the plane suffered "multiple engine trouble" shortly after takeoff in Spain.
Airbus declined to comment on the report. "We have to wait for the results of the investigation," a spokeswoman said.
Shares in Europe's largest aerospace group, which hit a record high in April, fell as much as 4.5pc yesterday during trading, erasing gains seen in the previous week.
The A400M Atlas was developed for seven NATO nations - Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey - at a cost of €20bn, making it Europe's biggest single arms contract. So far Malaysia is the only export customer.
The plane entered service in 2013, more than three years behind schedule, and 12 out of the 174 sold have been delivered so far. Problems in the development of the West's largest turboprop engines helped to generate billions of euros of cost overruns and a bailout by the seven launch nations in 2010.
Different technical problems and new delays surfaced last year, leading to a new financial hit and management shake-up.
People with direct knowledge of the matter have said the aircraft suffered engine problems on its maiden flight in December 2009, delaying its landing in front of hundreds of VIPs.
The engines were supplied by a European consortium of Britain's Rolls-Royce, France's Safran, MTU Aero Engines of Germany and Spanish aerospace firm Industria de Turbo Propulsores. The consortium was picked after politicians objected to Airbus's proposal of an imported engine from Canada.