Airbus Defence and Space is expected to select Flybe Aviation Services for maintenance of the UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF) A400M military transport aircraft fleet.
If selected, Flybe will serve as the A400M maintenance and repair organisation for the next two years, when the deal is likely to be extended, reported Defense News.
The contract is a part of the support package required by the RAF to operate the A400M fleet.
The contract work is expected to be undertaken at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, where A400M will be stationed alongside the A330 multi role tanker transport, C-17A Globemaster III and C-130J fleets.
Airbus declined to confirm Flybe’s selection but said: "There is an ongoing selection process for the MRO service for the RAF A400M and it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage."
The RAF is scheduled to take delivery of the first of the 22 A400Ms from Airbus in September, earlier than originally planned due to a production slot exchange agreed with France in late 2013.
As a result, the RAF will receive aircraft in September and April next year while the deliveries for France will be delayed until 2018 and 2021, the original delivery slots of the UK.
A UK Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said that five A400M are expected to be delivered by the end of this year, and four of them will be in the service of RAF.
"Final airframe delivery to the UK is now planned for March 2018," the spokeswoman said.
Image: An A400M military transport aircraft prototype in flight. Photo: courtesy of curimedia.