Airbus reaffirmed plans to get the delayed A400M military transport plane flying by the end of the year as it announced a raft of management changes on Tuesday.The planemaker's military division said it had appointed a new head of engineering as part of a shake-up of positions by the recently appointed head of Airbus Military, Domingo Urena.
Miguel Angel Morell, the new head of engineering and technology, was previously in charge of Airbus military derivatives and is seen as a key player in efforts by parent EADS to build and sell aerial refuelling tankers.
The move comes as EADS, in partnership with Northrop Grumman, faces a new $35 billion competition against Boeing to sell mid-air tankers to the US Air Force.
Airbus Military is responsible for building both the A400M military airlifter and the MRTT mid-air refuelling tanker which has been sold to countries including Britain and Australia.
The maiden flight of the A400M has been delayed by almost two years due to engine and software development problems, forcing EADS to renegotiate the 20 billion euro contract with the seven European Nato countries that first ordered the plane.
"Airbus Military is getting ready for some important milestones such as the A400M first flight to take place by the end of the year, the first A330 MRTT deliveries to operators in Australia and the UK and the U.S. tanker competition," the company said in a statement.
The previous engineering chief, Rafael Acedo, has been appointed head of strategy, Airbus Military said in a statement.
Jaime Perez-Guerra, a former spokesman for Spanish airline Iberia, was appointed head of communications.
Spain clashed earlier this year with EADS over the sacking of senior Spanish management officials and a reorganisation that saw its military plane business integrated into Airbus instead of remaining as a standalone EADS unit, industry sources say.