Europe's biggest aerospace company Airbus said on Monday (11 May) it would resume test flights this week for its A400M military transport plane after one of its aircrafts fatally crashed during a test flight in Spain.
"The next flight is supposed to happen either Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning depending on the aircraft's availability. That flight will take off from Toulouse," the head of Military Aircraft, Airbus Defence and Space, Fernando Alonso, told reporters in Seville.
Alonso also confirmed he will be onboard the next test flight.
"I will personally act as a flight test engineer for that flight, and the reason for this is that we believe in the airplane. There is nothing to date that tells us that the airplane is not air worthy. Therefore, until we have any further information we consider that the airplane is safe to fly, therefore we continue our work of developing this airplane to the full satisfaction of our customers," Alonso said.
The military plane crashed outside Seville on Saturday (9 May), killing four crew and prompting Britain, Germany and Malaysia to ground their fleets of Europe's new troop and cargo carrier.
France said it would keep flying its planes, while Airbus pledged to resume flight testing as planned on Tuesday (12 May). An investigation into the crash is being conducted by Spanish authorities, which Airbus is fully supporting.
"We are supporting the technical investigation team, which will be set up under the leadership of Spanish authorities. Airbus will support this investigation team but I want to make it very clear that this is not Airbus doing the investigation. The investigation is lead by the investigation committee and Airbus, other suppliers, for example the power plant's parts supplier, we are there to support that investigation team," Alonso told reporters.
The crashed aircraft was due to be delivered to Turkey and was on its maiden test flight when it ploughed into a field one mile north of Seville's San Pablo airport. Spain said it had recovered the two flight recorders.
The A400M was developed at a cost of €20bn (£14.37bn, $22.33bn) to give European Nato nations independent access to heavy airlift for military and humanitarian operations.
After more than three years of delays and billions of euros of cost overruns, European governments injected more money into the project in 2010. But delays and technical problems resurfaced last year, leading to a management shake-up.