EC Happy with Dutch Loan for Re-launched Fokker 100

 - November 19, 2010, 3:35 AM

Discussions with potential industrial partners and suppliers on the NG Aircraft Fokker “next-generation” regional jet program have reached “an advanced stage” and the project is “close to starting the development phase,” say officials. Continuing efforts to revive the 1980s’ Fokker 100 as the 110-passenger NG Aircraft Fokker 100NG (F-100NG) received a boost from a European Commission (EC) decision “not to raise objections” to a repayable EU19.7 million ($26.6 million) advance offered by the Netherlands government. “This is an important step forward,” said NG Aircraft managing director Maarten van Eeghen after the EC concluded that the “positive effects outweigh any potential distortion of competition.”

The Dutch Civil Aircraft Development Credit will contribute to the $120 million, Phase 1 investment needed to upgrade the prototype F100 airframe as a proof-of-concept demonstrator with new engines and avionics, extra fuel and winglets. Over the past several months, a project team that includes Dutch aircraft development and systems engineering company ADSE, Atkins, Fokker Services, the Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory and Sergem completed the preliminary design review of the F-100NG.

NG Aircraft, which has succeeded the Rekkof Aircraft venture, claims “substantial interest” among several airlines that have received presentations. Use of the Fokker 100’s “unique lightweight structure” as the basic platform plus the engineering changes will result in “lasting superior economic and environmental performance,” according to NG Aircraft. “Fuel consumption and CO2 emission will be 18-percent lower [than that of] its direct competitor. The noise pressure will be 70-percent lower.” NG Aircraft also plans longer and shorter F-100NG variants to carry 130 and 85 occupants, respectively.