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Germany to take fewer A400M planes

An airbus A400M military transport plane

An airbus A400M military transport plane

Germany will take delivery of only 40 of the 53 Airbus A400M military transport planes it has ordered, the parliamentary budget committee decided, in a further blow to the troubled project.

Deputies signed off on the revised project, which will see Germany maintain its order of 53 planes but then sell on 13 of them to another client, a parliamentary source said.

There was no mention of the potential buyer for the unwanted planes in Germany’s order but Airbus Military will be charged with selling them on.

Juergen Koppelin, the Parliament’s defence budget rapporteur, announced the changes.

Seven countries have ordered 180 of the aircraft for €20 billion from European plane maker Airbus but the project is three years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget.

It has been marred by setbacks, with the aircraft’s first flight postponed to an undetermined date because of engine problems.

Airbus, a unit of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, was supposed to get the transport plane in the air in January 2008.

It is the second time in three months that Germany has sought to cut its complement of A400Ms. In November, it reduced its firm order from 60 planes to the current 53.

Last November, the seven Nato countries – Germany, France, Spain, Britain, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg – reached an agreement on financing 5.2 billion euros of cost overruns but a definitive deal has yet to be signed.

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