March 4, 2019 / 2:09 AM / 16 days ago

German taxpayer may be left with hefty unpaid Airbus loan: report

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Airbus is seen on a flag at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac, near Toulouse, France February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German taxpayers could be left more than 600 million euros ($680 million) out of pocket in outstanding credit to Airbus for developing the A380 superjumbo, the Funke Mediengruppe will report on Monday citing an economy ministry statement, excerpts approved for release showed.

Berlin loaned Airbus 942 million euros in 2002 in connection with the A380’s development, of which only a third has been repaid, the media group cited the statement as saying.

The ministry issued the statement in reply to a parliamentary question from the opposition liberal party (FDP), it said.

Airbus last month said it would scrap the A380, producing and delivering only 17 more by 2021, because customers preferred smaller and nimbler jets.

This came after Emirates - the largest A380 customer - was forced to reduce its orders for the superjumbo after an engine dispute and a broader fleet review.

Repayments are due successively once planes are delivered, meaning the premature end of the production pipeline will leave some parts of the loan unpaid, the media group reported.

Deputy economy minister Ulrich Nussbaum was quoted as saying the handling of the loan issues was still being analyzed and would then be discussed with the company.

Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Hugh Lawson

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