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Spain tells Airbus to ground new A400Ms after fatal crash

The wreckage of the Airbus A400M, which crashed 9 May near Seville, Spain.
The wreckage of the Airbus A400M, which crashed 9 May near Seville, Spain. Reuters/Marcelo del Pozo

Spain says it will halt trials of newly assembled Airbus A400M military transport aircraft as authorities continue to investigate a deadly crash near Seville that killed four crew members during a test flight on Saturday.


"As a precaution, while waiting for the results of the investigation, it is better if the planes in production and which are about to be tested are not flown, as it is not known what actually happened,” Spanish Defence Minister Pedro Morenes said on radio station Onda Cero on Tuesday.

Airbus said in a statement that the move is “a precautionary measure.”

Airbus says it will still carry out test flights in France of planes already in the trial phase, and the head of the company’s military aircraft division took part in a test flight on Tuesday in Toulouse, where Airbus is headquartered.

The propeller-driven A400M that crashed in a field and burst into flames over the weekend was making its first flight after leaving the assembly plant near the southern Spanish city of Seville. One of the two injured survivors from the flight told German newsweekly Der Spiegel that the plane seemed to have experienced engine failure.

About 20 A400Ms are currently on the assembly line in different stages of production, according to Airbus.

“To what extent this will have an impact on the delivery schedule is too early to say," it said in a statement.

Germany, Britain, Turkey and Malaysia have grounded the planes until the investigation is complete, while France says that only "extreme priority" flights would be allowed for the French air force.

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