Slow export approvals from the German government are delaying Airbus Defence & Space defense exports worth several billions of euros, the company’s chief executive said on Sunday. Michael Schoellhorn urged Berlin to speed up the process, as several countries are interested in the military transport plane, the A400M.
“Unfortunately we are having difficulties to get the German export licenses on time,” Schoellhorn told Reuters in an interview at the Munich Security Conference. “Our problem is that we haven’t received any contracts yet from the Zeitenwende and important exports are not being approved. This puts us in a very unsatisfactory situation.”
The Zeitenwende is a 100-billion-euro ($107 billion) special fund set up last year to bring the military back up to scratch after Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a “sea change” in security policy days into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Schoellhorn said that planning security is essential, and that the delays in export procedures cannot be tolerated. He estimated that the financial volume of the delayed exports is “several billion euros.”
Regarding the loss-making A400M, Schoellhorn said he expects no further significant charges due to industrial problems in future if developments continue as they have in the past years. He also added that the company should eventually receive partial payments that customers held back.
When asked about the possibility of having to rely on SpaceX for Europe’s future space developments, Schoellhorn said that any such solution would be temporary. He said, “Depending on the mission, we will have to temporarily use other launchers, whether they will come from SpaceX or somewhere else we will have to see. But we don’t want to do this over the long haul.”
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