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New head of A400M programme appointed as industrial go-ahead reached

Airbus Military has given the green light to the industrial launch of the A400M airlifter and approved the start of series production. This follows a thorough review of all aspects of the programme which demonstrated that all readiness criteria were fulfilled. This means that the first four series aircraft will be produced in 2012 and the production rate will gradually be ramped up to 2.5 aircraft per month by the end of 2015.

"The industrial launch is a very important milstone for the programme. It is also excellent news for the suppliers and workforce who depend on the programme and who can now look forward to producing the A400M in the years ahead, said Airbus Military CEO Domingo Ureña."

Having reached this key milestone, Rafael Tentor, who has led the programme for four years, is handing over responsibility to Cédric Gautier, currently President and Chief Executive of EADS Sogerma, who will, from 1st April 2011, lead the programme to certification, delivery and entry into service of the aircraft with the launch customers.

"My most sincere thanks go to Rafael for all the work he and his team have performed over the past years. His enormous commitment and dedication have enabled the A400M to become the aircraft it is today", commented Domingo Ureña. "Rafael has led the programme back on track, to first flight and initial Flight Test. The industrial launch means a turning point. I am convinced that, with all his engineering and above all industrial expertise, Cédric will be the best person to manage this new phase leading to type certification, series production and entry into service".

As of 1st April, Rafael Tentor (53) is becoming Head of Airbus Military aircraft programmes, covering the Light & Medium C212, CN235 and C295, as well as the A330 MRTT and all other conversions. He will replace Javier Matallanos (61) who will be assigned special projects by the Airbus Military CEO.

Following a graduation at the Ecole Centrale in Nantes (France) in 1985, Cédric Gautier (50) began his career in the Engineering Department with Aerospatiale Espace et Défense (now part of EADS-Astrium) where he moved up to head Les Mureaux production in 1997 for Aerospatiale Matra Lanceurs. In 1999 he was named Head of EADS-Astrium Integration and Production before being appointed Head of Industrial at EADS Sogerma Services in 2006, and subsequently being promoted to president and CEO of EADS Sogerma in 2007.

To-date, Airbus Military holds 174 orders for the A400M from eight customers. Civil Certification is due by year end, with first delivery to first customer/operator, the French Air Force, by the turn of the year 2012 / early 2013.

Press release issued by Airbus Defence & Space HQ on March 11, 2011


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