Dubai Air Show

Fokker’s latest program to stretch lives, provide lift

 - November 12, 2009, 7:36 PM

This week here in Dubai, Fokker Services (Stand E556) is set to launch plans to stretch the service lives of short- to medium-range regional aircraft. The company, part of the Fokker Aircraft Group that is owned by Stork Aerospace, supports a global fleet of some 700 operational Fokker turboprop and jet airliners.

In the first step toward what it calls a total lifetime-extension program for out-of-production aircraft to be formally unveiled here, the company has aligned with Amsterdam-based charter operator Denim Air to assist start-up regional airlines planning to use older Fokker 50 or Bombardier de Havilland Dash 8 regional turboprops or Fokker 100 regional jets. The program has been driven by the need to stimulate business during the recession, and echoes previous Fokker initiatives that followed the former airframe manufacturer’s cessation of aircraft production in the 1990s and during the 2001-02 downturn.

Dubbed “Take Off,” the plan would provide interim airlift for operators preparing longer-term fleet renewal. Denim Air would meet aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) requirements, while Fokker Services would handle logistic and technical support.

Fokker said the program, which will entail all the phases in the life-cycle of a new airline, intensifies its earlier Future 50 and Future 100 arrangements launched in 1993. Take Off is said to enable a quick start-up within six weeks following a formal decision by an airline, which otherwise might typically require a period of six or more months, according to Fokker Services marketing and sales vice president Eric Goedhart.

Denim Air chief commercial officer Eric Hespeel said the alliance with Fokker provides the former scheduled-service operator with a stronger business plan and will mean significantly added value for start-up customers. In addition to ACMI services, Denim Air provides long- and short-term wet-leases, backup aircraft capacity, full operational assistance and 24-hour service to commercial airlines. Aircraft are available from Denim Air’s fleet of seven Fokker 50s, three 100s and nine Dash 8s, with the Fokker 70 expected to join next year.

Last month, related maintenance, modification and aircraft-conversion company Fokker Aircraft Services contracted aircraft exterior-paint provider Maastricht Aviation Aircraft Services to operate its paint hangar at Woensdrecht in the Netherlands. Fokker Aircraft Services president Edwin Schelling said the maintenance/painting partnership, covering Airbus A320, Boeing 737 and Bombardier Canadair CRJ700 regional jets as well as Fokker models, will reduce customers’ aircraft downtime and eliminate nonrevenue positioning flights.