The defence ministries of the seven nations involved in the A400M programme will have to wait several more months before they finally receive the airlifters.

Spain, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Turkey will renegotiate the delivery deadline with EADS, which may ask for a second extension of several months.

The nations had planned to cancel the order due to the delay of almost three years. However, a primary extension of three months was given in April 2009 that expires this month.

The armed forces can use the A400M to operate on unprepared runways, for carrying paratroopers or large payloads to tactical forward bases and for evacuating casualty or refugees.

The airlifter is also equipped to perform air-to-air refuelling and server as a receiver aircraft to take on fuel while in flight.