It must be sheer relief that Airbus Military, the company he heads, can now get on with the job of building A400Ms rather than talking about it, that put Domingo Ureña-Raso in such a jovial mood in a chat over croissants and coffee with journalists Monday morning.
You may remember that South Africa had signed up to buy eight A400Ms until the government cancelled the contract last December. But several South African companies are key sub-contractors, providing parts for all the A400Ms so I was particularly interested to hear how EADS, Airbus Military's mother company, is handling this situation.
Ureña-Raso said that “South Africa is a key country for us and a client of reference. We are continuing to talk with the government to see what alternatives can be found. And of course we are continuing to work with our suppliers. It's not just because a country has cancelled that we will cancel the work package. We have not taken any action against our two South African suppliers,” he said, adding with a grin “so I hope that they will deliver on time!”
Together with Malaysia, South Africa had a privileged status, not just as an export partner but as a member. “South Africa would not be treated as a simple export customer because it participated in OCCAR (the pan-European procurement agency) on the development and definition phase of the aircraft,” Ureña-Raso said.
Could the A400M land on top of Table Top Mountain, I wonder?
photo credit: Christina Mackenzie