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Airbus has officially launched the construction of a new maintenance centre for the A400M airlifter in Wunstorf, the company announced on 9 October 2023.

The traditional groundbreaking ceremony on the site at Wunstorf Air Base, out of which the German Air Force’s A400Ms operate, was held by Airbus Defence and Space CEO Michael Schöllhorn together with high-ranking representatives from the government and German armed forces. Among them were Parliamentary State Secretary to the Minister of Defence Siemtje Möller, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony Stephan Weil, Chief of the Air Force Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz and Vice President of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) Ralph Herzog.

The A400M maintenance centre is being built right next to the base of Air Transport Wing 62 at Wunstorf. The cost of its construction, according to Airbus, is in the low three-digit million range.

Completion of the maintenance centre is scheduled for the end of 2026, with operations there scheduled to start in mid-2027 after approval by the German Armed Forces Airworthiness Office. Around 300 personnel, mainly aeronautical engineers, will work at the centre.

The German Air Force has ordered 53 A400Ms, the first of which was delivered in 2014. By August 2023 a total of 42 aircraft had been received, with the rest due to arrive by 2026.

A CGI rendering of the Airbus A400M Maintenance Centre at Wunstorf, at which operations are due to start in mid-2027. (Image: Airbus)

“The A400M has been in reliable service for the German armed forces for over 10 years. To keep it that way, the new Airbus A400M Maintenance Centre Wunstorf is an important step forward,” Schoellhorn was quoted as saying in an Airbus press release. “Here, we will deepen the co-operation with the German armed forces and further improve the availability and operational capability of the A400M. The new maintenance centre will sustainably strengthen the successful co-operation between industry and the German Air Force.”

“Airbus’ decision to establish the new maintenance centre in Wunstorf is farsighted and correct,” said Weil. “Its proximity to the air base and also to Hannover airport will ensure smooth maintenance and operational readiness of the important A400M aircraft. This project marks an important step in securing transport capacities for the security of our country and for aid transports to disaster areas.”

“The A400M is an indispensable part of the air force, whether as a transporter, tanker or in its role as medevac [platform],” noted Lt Gen Gerhartz. “With the A400M we are supporting Bundeswehr missions and NATO air forces on the eastern flank. Evacuation missions from Kabul or Sudan would not have been feasible without the A400M. Similarly, we use the A400M to provide emergency aid in the event of natural disasters, as recently in Turkey and Libya. Worldwide operational readiness with our A400M fleet – that is only possible together with Airbus.”