BERLIN, July 6 (Reuters) - European aerospace group Airbus is optimistic that it could sign a contract to export the multination A400M military transport plane before the end of the year, the company's defence chief said on Friday.
Airbus Defence and Space Chief Executive Dirk Hoke said the company had been in negotiations with the potential customer for some time, but did not name the potential buyer.
"It looks very promising," Hoke said, adding that an export customer would be "an important step in order to demonstrate that we can sell the aircraft."
Hoke said a new Franco-German fighter jet programme would provide further growth impulses for the company, and said other nations - including Spain and Britain - could be invited to join the project at a later stage. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal Editing by Victoria Bryan)