Airbus shares fall after military plane crash in Spain

AP News
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Posted: May 11, 2015 8:42 AM
Airbus shares fall after military plane crash in Spain

MADRID (AP) — Investors pushed Airbus shares down Monday on Paris' stock exchange after a military turboprop troop transporter plane undergoing final flight testing in Spain crashed, killing four aboard and injuring two.

Airbus shares were down 2.6 percent to 61.76 euros ($68.97) as authorities investigated what caused the A400M to crash into a farm field Saturday after taking off from the southern city of Seville, where the planes are assembled.

Also Monday, German officials said their military's A400M has shown numerous "shortcomings" during testing following delivery last December but none to indicate it was not flightworthy.

The company held a moment of silence at all of its installations around the world for the dead — the two pilots and two of the four flight test engineers aboard.

The voice and flight data black boxes were recovered on Sunday and delivered to a Spanish judge in Seville investigating the case, Spain's presidency said in a statement.

The media office for the judge said Monday it could not immediately provide any information about analysis of the black boxes or the investigation. Spain's Development Ministry is also investigating the crash.

The plane had been due to be delivered to Turkey after test flights.

German Defense Ministry spokesman Uwe Roth said the Bundeswehr's first and only A400M, grounded in the wake of the accident, was in a test phase and had shown a "large number of shortcomings" so far — though nothing to make it be deemed unflightworthy.

The German military had logged 750 flight hours on the plane. When the test plane would go back into service depends upon what is revealed in the Spanish investigation, Roth said.

A further five A400M aircraft were due to be delivered this year, but Roth said Airbus had notified the German government that there would be delays and that they would only know in the second half of the year how many could be expected and when. Germany has ordered 53 of the new planes.

Malaysia on Monday confirmed that it was grounding its A400M plane pending results of the crash probe. Although Malaysia only has one of the aircraft, it is scheduled to receive three more.

The country's decision came after Britain, Germany and Turkey grounded theirs over the weekend and France said it would only use A400M aircraft in urgent operations.

Airbus in January dismissed the head of its military program after governments including Germany, France and Turkey complained about delays in the 20-billion-euro A400M program.

The program has also been plagued by cost overruns. France was the first country to take delivery of an A400M in 2013.

The program was started so governments could replace their aging military Transall C-160s and C-130 Hercules transporter planes.

Twelve A400Ms have been delivered and the company has received 174 orders for the planes from eight countries.

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Associated Press writers David Rising in Berlin, Ciaran Giles in Madrid and Jamey Keaten in Paris contributed to this report.