As the first flight looms ever nearer and the deadline for a governmental decision on its future comes into sharp focus over the same period, what next for the A400.
It’s fun to predict the future because one is rarely completely correct so here is our Mystic Meg…
- The A400 will fly by the end of the year ad the test programme will look achievable for a first production aircraft of a couple of years after that.
- There is no way the Governments of Europe and A400 partners will let it fail. Despite the tough negotiating position of the UK and Germany who are insisting that a fixed price contract means just that, a deal will be struck that allows EADS to avoid cancellation and huge fines.
- The RAF will receive between 15 and 20 airframes not the 25 on the order books
- The unit cost will increase by about 20%
- Options for future airframes and a very good deal on through life support will be struck as part of the compromise agreement, commercial loans to offset development costs might also be included and this will entail independent accountants pouring over EADS books to make sure all is above board on the costs front.
Readers of this blog will know I am hugely in favour of the capabilities that the A400 will deliver but Airbus and EADS must not be allowed to go back on fixed-price contracts without something in return. Yes, the development programme was hugely ambitious but both parties signed.
Anyone else got any predictions?