(Recasts with comments from Airbus)
BERLIN Feb 24 All A400M military transport
plane engines affected by an order from European safety
regulators have been inspected and no further cracks were found
in their combustion chambers, a spokesman for manufacturer
Airbus said on Friday.
Airbus spokesman Florian Taitsch said the European Aviation
Safety Agency (EASA) had ordered the inspections and follow-up
checks late last year after unexplained cracks were discovered
in the combustion chamber of an A400M engine owned by Malaysia.
No problems had been found in any of the other engines
checked, which belong to the first 31 delivered A400M aircraft.
"All the engines affected have been inspected and this is a
unique incident," Taitsch said.
Facing heavy losses on its programme to supply up to 170 of
the aircraft to seven European NATO members, Airbus on Wednesday
took a fresh writedown of 1.2 billion euros and urged the
governments concerned not to fine it too heavily for technical
snags and delays.
It cited "significant risks ahead" for Europe's biggest
defence project, which sources said was originally valued at 20
billion euros but was now slated to cost well over 30 billion.
It was not immediately clear when the company and the NATO
buyer nations - Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain,
Turkey and Britain - would meet to discuss the programme.
The EASA airworthiness directive called for inspections of
all engines similar to the Malaysian one, and follow-on checks
after 500 hours, and then every 250 hours after that.
A spokesman for the German air force said minor cracks had
been found in the 10 affected German A400M engines, but they
were common in the combustion chambers and there was no impact
on aircraft safety or operation.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and