After months of delays caused by technical disputes, Turkey has accepted its first A400M airlifter. (Airbus)
ANKARA — Turkey has finally accepted its first A400M tactical transport aircraft from the Airbus consortium, ending a monthslong controversy over whether the aircraft met technical specifications.
A procurement official said that acceptance of the A400M was formalized April 4.
“This clears the process,” he said. “We are now looking forward to further deliveries.”
The delivery made Turkey the second operator of the A400M.
“Following today’s contractual transfer of title, the aircraft will be flown to Kayseri air base in central Turkey, where it will initially be used for training,” a statement from Airbus said April 4. “A further ceremony will take place in Turkey at a later date.”
Turkey, a partner in the multinational consortium that builds the aircraft, had been wrangling with the group over disputed technical snags that blocked delivery of its first aircraft. Turkey received its first A400M late in 2013.
Airbus Group NV CEO Tom Enders said Feb. 26 in Toulouse, France, that he was frustrated by Turkey’s failure to accept the delivery, even though two planes are flying successfully with French forces.
But Turkey’s chief procurement official, Murad Bayar who was removed from office in late March, said that the aircraft failed to meet the acceptance criteria.
Airbus, a European multinational aerospace and defense corporation, had been contracted to supply 10 four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft to Turkey.
Airbus is ramping up A400M production following years of delays and cost increases that mean the program may not turn profitable unless the consortium wins additional orders beyond the 174 already secured.
Turkey is a 5.5 percent shareholder in the A400M program, with Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries supplying fuselage and wing parts for the plane to Bremen in Germany and Filton, Britain, for integration before final assembly in Seville, Spain. ■