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Five countries using A400M aircraft suspend flights after Seville crash

Four people were killed in Saturday’s air accident, while two crew members were injured Spanish defense minister urges against doubting “the credibility of Airbus”

An A400M at a Berlin air show in June 2010.
An A400M at a Berlin air show in June 2010.JOHANNES EISELE (AFP)

The United Kingdom, Turkey, France, Germany and Malaysia have all decided to suspend the use of the Airbus A400M after an accident involving the plane in Seville at the weekend, which saw four people killed. These five countries – the only ones apart from Spain who currently operate the A400M – have 12 units between them.

France, however, will still use the aircraft in certain situations.

“Our A400M are in operation and will only be used in extremely high priority cases,” announced French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday.

The Spanish Public Works Ministry revealed on Saturday that the black box flight recorders from the plane had already been found, but that they had suffered “significant damage caused by the heavy impact and subsequent fire.” They have been passed onto the investigating judge who will be in charge of determining the causes of the accident.

The Public Works Ministry revealed on Saturday that the black box recorders from the plane had already been found

The ministry also announced that Public Works Minister Ana Pastor headed up a coordination meeting on Sunday regarding the crash at the Seville airport. Attendees included the secretary of defense, Pedro Argüelles, members of the Military Air Accident Commission and technicians from the Civil Aviation Accident Investigation Commission.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, meanwhile, is being kept informed of the progress of the two survivors of the accident and the progress of the investigation into the crash. Spain’s defense minister, Pedro Morenés, has called for a complete investigation of the crash, and requested that the incident was not used to doubt “the credibility of Airbus.”

In March 2012, Spain’s former king Juan Carlos I flew in an A400M.

The British Air Force currently has two A400M military transport planes, and has a total of 22 on order, which are due to be delivered over the next few years. “Operations of British A400M planes have been interrupted while the investigation into the accident in Seville is carried out,” a Defense Ministry spokesperson said at the weekend. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those who were involved in the accident.”

This has been a terrible blow for the company, and now the most important thing is to be with the victims and their families” Airbus spokesperson

In Spain, the investigation will be carried out under the auspices of the Defense and Public Works ministries. There is, however, a legal loophole given that the latter is in charge of civil aviation investigations, while a military commission called CITAAM is charged with incidents involving aircraft from the armed forces. The plane that crashed on Saturday in Seville is a military aircraft, but did not belong to the armed forces, rather the manufacturer, Airbus.

The company has already sent a team of technicians to the crash site to begin investigations. “This has been a terrible blow for the company, and now the most important thing is to be with the victims and their families,” said a company spokesperson.

Four employees from Airbus were killed on Saturday in the crash and another two suffered serious injuries when the plane, which was being tested ahead of its delivery to Turkey, crashed near the airport of the Andalusian capital. The crew was made up of a pilot, copilot, mechanic and three engineers. The identities of the victims have not yet been released.

The two survivors of the accident are being treated in Seville hospitals, and are in a “stable but serious condition,” according to medical sources who spoke to news agency Europa Press.

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