The severe financial problems at Fairchild Dornier have left the Envoy 3 and 7 programs in doubt. Ironically (or perhaps intentionally), the 728 regional jet platform for the Envoy 7 was rolled out on March 21, just before the company filed for insolvency on April 2. First flight of the 728 is still planned for July or August, however, and the company said it has diverted funds from the Envoy 7 program to pay for costs associated with the 728’s maiden flight. As a result, development of the Envoy 7, originally scheduled for delivery in 2004, has been frozen. The manufacturer did not respond to AIN’s request for information about the Envoy 3’s current status, including a date when a supplementary type certificate for the interior is expected.
Some hope for both the 728 and Envoy 7 may be found in an announcement by Bombardier Aerospace at last month’s Berlin Air Show (ILA). The Canadian manufacturer said it has agreed to a request by Lufthansa Airlines and the government of Germany to start a technical evaluation of the 728 program and has sent a team of engineers to Berlin as a first step in the possible transfer of the program from Fairchild Dornier to Bombardier. Also in Berlin, the CEO of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), Reiner Hertrich, conclusively denied any interest in Fairchild Dornier, citing undue risk associated with this business sector. Boeing, as well, continues to deny any interest in the ailing German-American company.