Germany is in talks with aerospace giant Airbus about €600 million in outstanding loans for the development of the A380 superjumbo jet, whose production will end in 2021 after being in operation for only 14 years.
France, Germany, Britain, and Spain were Airbus’ biggest investors in the €15 billion A380 project. In 2002, five years before the behemoth passenger jet entered into regular operation, Germany contributed €942 billion into the development of the plane, one-third of which has been repaid, according to Ulrich Nussbaum, the State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Airbus claims that it would no longer need to repay any outstanding state loans on the A380 because the governments involved had agreed to jointly share the risks in the project.
In February, Airbus announced that it would scrap the A380 after it produced and delivered 17 more planes over the course of the next two years due to a drop in demand from customers who preferred smaller and more fuel-efficient jets.
Repayments on the loans that were provided to Airbus are due once the planes are delivered, meaning the premature end of the production pipeline will leave some parts of the loan unpaid.
Nussbaum said the handling of the loans would be analyzed by the German government and discussed with Airbus at a later date.
In the event that Berlin and Airbus cannot come to an agreement on how to settle the two-thirds of the loan that remains outstanding, German taxpayers could be left more than €600 million out of pocket in outstanding credit to Airbus.