Airbus hit by military plane issues

"We must stop the bleeding and de-risk the program", said chief executive officer Tom Enders during the company's annual results media briefing today.

The plane's engines have been the main source of problems, with seven North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries giving Airbus 3.5 billion euros in 2010 to resolve issues.

Airbus said recent problems with engine gearboxes and delays in supplying defensive aids had led to severe penalties, bureaucratic arguments and cash being held back by governments.

Hailed at the time as an innovative, fixed-price commercial-style deal, the contract foundered over the problems with the West's largest turboprop engines and an ambitious schedule for innovations such as ground-hugging technology to avoid radar.

In Q4, Airbus took a €1.2 billion charge on the A400M military transporter, bringing the full year total to €2.2 billion. So far, the only non-European buyer is Malaysia.

Airbus shares fell more than one percent on the fourth-quarter A400M charge, which was about twice as large as expected and pushed total writedowns on the programme above 6 billion euros.

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The A400M was commissioned jointly in 2003 by the government of Luxembourg, as well as Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, Spain and Turkey.

Airbus said in a statement that its bottom-line net profit plummeted by 63 percent to 995 million euros previous year, shot down by a 2.2-billion-euro hit on the A400M.

The company met its ramp-up target for the A350, with 49 aircraft delivered during 2016, but acknowledged that the situation remains challenging as the ramp-up progresses.

Airbus confirmed a projection of more than 700 jetliner deliveries in 2017, up from a record 688 in 2016.

Airbus has made a plea to the six European nations that launched the A400M program for relief from the penalties they are enforcing for late deliveries of the airlifter and shortfalls of its promised performance.

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