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article imageSpain to decide on lifting A400M flight suspension next week

By AFP     Jun 6, 2015 in World

Spain could decide to resume A400M plane flights after a meeting with Airbus officials on Monday to discuss the causes of a deadly crash of one of the planes last month, Defence Minister Pedro Morenes said in an interview published Saturday.

"We have scheduled a meeting on Monday with the company (Airbus Defence & Space) to place a series of questions which will allow us to give this flight certification with all guarantees," he told daily newspaper El Pais.

"If the responses are positive, the test flights of prototypes which have been suspended will resume and after that we will authorise the rest of the flights," he added.

Spain ordered a halt of A400M military airlifter flights following the May 9 crash of one of the planes near Seville in southern Spain which killed four of six Airbus employees who were on board.

Britain, Germany, Turkey and Malaysia also grounded their A400M planes, which are assembled in Seville.

An analysis of the black boxes of the A400M plane which crashed has revealed that three of the aircraft's four engines failed before it ploughed into a field, Airbus said Wednesday.

Airbus group's chief of strategy Marwan Lahoud told German daily Handelsblatt that the engines of the plane were poorly installed during final assembly, which could have led to the engines malfunctioning and crashing.

"The black boxes confirm it. There was no structural fault, but we have a serious final assembly quality problem," he told the paper after receiving the first results of the analyses of the flight recorders.

But Morenes said it was too soon to say what caused the crash and he lashed out at the accusations that problems at the Airbus factory in Seville were to blame, calling them "reckless".

Experts inspect the wreckage of the crashed Airbus A400M near Sevilla airport on May 11  2015
Experts inspect the wreckage of the crashed Airbus A400M near Sevilla airport on May 11, 2015
Cristina Quicler, AFP/File

"We are not going to get ahead of events. It is true that evidence goes in that direction (that three engines failed), but we have to wait for the conclusions from (the investigating authority) CITAAM, which will not take long to come," he said.

"I see it as reckless and also a lack of respect within the company," he added when asked about the suggestion that assembly problems at the plant in Seville were to blame for the accident.

"This is not a problem of Seville, Toulouse or Hamburg, it is an Airbus problem. If we start raising little flags in this company, we will destroy it. The company in its entirety is responsible for its products, regardless of where they are produced," he added.

The development of the massive transport plane has been plagued by setbacks that led to years of delays and costly overruns.

The first aircraft was delivered in 2013, and a total of 174 have been ordered.

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