Illustration photo shows a A400M, similar to the one ordered by Lxembourg
The delivery of Luxembourg’s A400M military aircraft has been further delayed, a defence news site reported on Thursday.
The tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities was ordered for the Belgian-Luxembourg fleet and was expected to arrive for the national day celebrations on 23 June, according to “A l’Avant Garde”.
“The covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on this delivery with an impact on the airline industry,” the site reports, adding that the aircraft remains stationed in Seville, Spain, where ground tests are being carried out.
Deputy director of defence for Luxembourg Rol Reiland told Delano that the likely new delivery date would be after the summer break.
He said: “The delivery of the first of the eight aircraft of the Belgian-Luxembourg A400M bi-national unit (BNU A400M) was initially planned for mid-2020. With the impact of the health crisis on the aviation industry, this delivery will be somewhat delayed.
“We will communicate in due course on the exact date of this delivery, which will most likely take place after the summer holidays.”
Belgium has two further A400Ms on order. The Luxembourg army is expected to provide three crews for the multinational Belgian-Luxembourg fleet, composed of six pilots and six stokers, according to “A l’Avant Garde”.
The grand duchy will share the aircraft with the Belgian military, contributing one-eighth of the operational costs, under the budget agreed in 2018. The annual operational bill will be €11m-€12m, bringing expenditure to around €420 million for the 35-year lifespan of the plane.
Parliament had already voted in favour of the €168 million cost of the plane in 2005 after the two countries’ governments agreed to purchase the A400M. An additional €28 million VAT bill will also have to be paid by Luxembourg.