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Airbus refunds A400M payments to Armscor

Opens door for further close co-operation with SA.

Johannesburg, Dec 19 (I-Net Bridge) – Airbus Military has refunded pre-delivery payments for the eight A400M military transport aircraft worth EUR837 million to parastatal Armscor, it said on Monday. 

In a statement, it confirmed that it had, at the same time, opened the door to further close co-operation with SA.

“The agreement we signed with Armscor on November 29, 2011, draws a line under the cancelled A400M acquisition, but crucially, it lets us all move forward together to explore further opportunities, including upcoming acquisition projects led by Armscor,” Airbus Military CEO, Domingo Urena said.

SA was given full industrial partner status in the A400M programme in 2005. In return, the country committed to acquire eight A400M aircraft in a firm- and fixed-price contract.

During the 2009 recession, SA cancelled the order with Airbus, claiming that the cost of the planes had escalated. However, this was denied by Airbus. The aircraft manufacturer has always stressed that the EUR837 million figure remained accurate.

Despite SA cancelling its order, local companies, Denel Aerostructures and Aerosud, remained responsible for the design engineering, manufacturing and supply of several major parts, including aircraft top shells (roof); wing-fuselage fairing (the largest single aircraft component ever manufactured in SA); aerodynamically complex wing-tips (which directly influence fuel efficiency and carbon emissions); as well as cabin and cockpit insulation & linings and galleys.

In addition, Cape Town-based Cobham SA, was the supplier of the satellite communications antennae and related systems, Airbus said.

Airbus had also launched and committed to R4 billion worth of industrial and research activities with South African partners through to 2020.

Copyright 2011 I-Net Bridge. All rights reserved. 

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