Rekkof Aircraft, the Dutch company trying to bring Fokker F70 and F100 twinjets back into production, has said the uncertain status of the Fairchild Dornier regional jets and the demise of BAE Systems’ Avro RJX program have boosted its prospects. The firm has now joined Embraer and Bombardier in the race to win an order for up to 60 regional jets from German regional operator Lufthansa CityLine.
According to Rekkof president Jaap Rosen Jacobson, an increasing number of operators, including several existing Fokker operators, now view the 79-seat F70 and the 107-seat F100 as lower-risk alternatives to new-generation regional jets. “They want solutions to their [operating] requirements without teething problems,” he told AIN.
Jacobson also claimed that operators have expressed “doubts about the future of the Embraer factories.” Asked to elaborate, he suggested that some operators, with whom he has been negotiating, doubt whether the Brazilian airframer can meet the development and production commitments for its new regional jet programs (the 170 and 190 models) and whether its business plan will prove viable in the long run due to the high levels of investment required.
“Customers are also now showing less interest in other alternative aircraft such as the Boeing 717 and the Airbus A318,” Jacobson concluded.
Rekkof has also been holding talks with prospective F70 and F100 system suppliers. It hopes to resume production by the fourth quarter of 2004, subject to relaunch orders being secured. Anticipated annual output at its prospective factory close to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport would be around 45 airframes.