Spain plans to halve its order for A400M Atlas transport aircraft.

In 2010, to save the European A400M “Atlas” transport aircraft program, which was then threatened by cost overruns and delays, the original customer countries [France, Germany, UK, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, and Turkey] granted an extension of 3.5 billion Euros to Airbus, of which 1.5 billion were in the form of refundable advances, guaranteed against future exports of this aircraft.

And the addendum to the contract that was signed then [of more than 1,000 pages…] contained a clause that authorized customers to reduce their orders by up to ten aircraft. This was quickly followed by Germany, which announced its intention to buy 53 instead of 60 aircraft.

Exports have struggled to take off, with only two customers, namely Kazakhstan [two aircraft] and Indonesia [also two aircraft, plus another four as options]. However, according to Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defense & Space, there is no shortage of potential clients… But the German policy for the sale of military material, considered too restrictive, prevents the signing of new contracts.

According to Reuters, the Spanish Ministry of Defense is considering canceling the delivery of 13 of the 27 A400Ms it has ordered. These aircraft must be delivered after 2025. And this, although the final assembly of these aircraft is taking place in Seville.

However, if confirmed, this information is not surprising since the Air and Space Army has already made it known that it would settle for 13 or 14 A400M [the 14th example will be delivered this year]. In addition, in 2018, there was talk that Madrid would sell between four and six planes to South Korea [but an agreement could not be reached].

However, according to sources contacted by Reuters, the Spanish government and Airbus are “currently discussing how to mitigate the impact of a partial cancellation of the A400M order.”

Similar rumors are circulating in France, where the Ministry of the Armed Forces is considering reducing its order for A400Ms from 50 to 35 units [21 aircraft have been delivered to the French Air Force and Space Corps]. However, at the 36th Franco-British Summit on March 10, Paris and London affirmed to “reiterate” their “commitment” to the A400M program and “their willingness to manage the procurement roadmap to ensure its sustainability.”