30 Sep '13, 1pm
Airbus delivers first A400M military transport plane
SEVILLE, Spain After years of delays and huge cost overruns, Airbus on Sept. 30 delivered its first A400M military transport plane, handing over the huge turboprop to France. The pan-European aircraft maker hopes the official handover ceremony at the Airbus Military plant in Seville will launch strong sales to air forces worldwide following a difficult birth. "It is an extremely high-performance aircraft and I am quite proud that France is number one for delivery," French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a handover ceremony also attended by Spain's Prince Felipe. Already, though, there are concerns about orders for the plane. The French minister, who was returning to a military base in Orleans aboard the plane after the ceremony, said France still planned to take 50 of the A400M aircraft, which has propellers more than 5 meters (16 feet) long. But the minister...