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Note on sources: The authors were lucky enough to visit the A-400M maintenance, logistics and training facilities at RAF Brize Norton in July 2016 to conduct interviews and research on the aircraft.
The UK’s new medium-heavy transport aircraft, the Airbus A400M, has had a troubled development pathway. However, one of its major outstanding issues has been eased with clearance in July of a fix that more than quadruples the time between checks for a gearbox for the Europrop TP400-D6 engines. Problems with this gearbox had been severely limiting fleet availability rates. Airbus still has to deliver new aircraft at a sufficient rate to appease its disgruntled German customer and to persuade its other customers that improvements in manufacturing have improved delivery quality and reliability, not least with regard to the development of fuselage cracks. The A400M has some way to go before it can become a source of profit rather than loss for Airbus.
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