Rekkof Seeks Partner for Brazilian Parts Factory

 - March 25, 2011, 10:15 AM
The Dutch government has offered a $27 million loan toward the cost of upgrading the prototype Fokker 100 regional jet.

Rekkof Aircraft will invite tenders from established Tier 1 aerostructures companies to produce parts for its planned Fokker 100NG development of the Dutch jetliner design at a factory to be built in Brazil, according to chief executive Maarten van Eeghen. Production of the original aircraft ceased with Fokker’s bankruptcy in 1996, after which entrepreneur Jaap Rosen Jacobson acquired exclusive rights and tooling for new-build F100s.

Jacobson formed Rekkof a year later. The company, which trades as NG Aircraft, has set up South American subsidiary Rekkof Industrial do Brasil (Rekkof Brasil), which will own an F100NG parts and sub-assemblies factory at Anapolis airport. Under a memorandum of understanding signed in mid-March,the government of Goias–a Brazilian state that wants to establish aerospace production–will invest about $720 million in construction of the factory.

Rekkof believes the “next-generation” F100NG’s inherent low weight–“almost 3,000 kg (6,600 pounds) less than an Embraer E-190”–will contribute to extensive “green” credentials. Carrying 110 passengers more than 500 nm, it would offer per-seat direct operating costs (DOCs) “very close” to, and trip DOCs “more than 35-percent better” than, those of a 156-seat Airbus A320, claims Rekkof. It hopes to deliver initial production examples in mid-2016. Plans call for a demonstrator aircraft to fly in mid-2013, following a 22-month development phase.

Revival plans received a boost last November when the European Commission approved a $27 million repayable loan from the Netherlands government toward the $120 million, Phase 1 development cost of upgrading the Rekkof-owned F100 prototype as a proof-of-concept airframe with new engines, avionics, increased fuel capacity and winglets.

Rekkof is understood to have selected the Rolls-Royce BR725, which powers the Gulfstream G650, as its preferred engine, but emphatically declined to confirm that information ahead of any formal agreement with the UK engine manufacturer. Van Eeghen could not confirm reports that, with Rolls-Royce’s agreement, Gulfstream has supplied two BR725s to power the demonstrator.

Last year Rekkof and development contractors, including Dutch aircraft-development and systems-engineering company ADSE, Atkins, Fokker Services, the Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory and Sergem, completed a preliminary design review.

“We are putting all the pieces of the puzzle together [and] many are in place, but there are still some major [elements] to be agreed” before Rekkof will formally launch the F100NG, Van Eeghen told AIN this week.

Rekkof Brasil will serve as the only necessary subsidiary, because Rekkof expects to sign all other partner and supply contracts with established companies.