Fairchild Dornier on December 20 sold its Airbus components manufacturing and general maintenance businesses to Switzerland’s RUAG Aerospace after weeks of intense competition between the Swiss firm and the Russian partnership of Irkutsk Aircraft Works and Basic Element.
Leesburg, Va.-based AvCraft last month signed a contract to buy the Fairchild Dornier 328 program and its associated support businesses. The deal, at press time still subject to government approvals, would include the rights to the Fairchild name, the plant and equipment for the manufacture of 328s and 18 fully built 328JETs in storage at the bankrupt company’s Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany manufacturing complex.
Based on the facts that no company has yet emerged with Fairchild Dornier’s 728JET program more than one year after the beleaguered German-American OEM declared insolvency and that the other parts of the company have now found homes with three other firms (see pages R14 and R16 in this month’s RAA Supplement), we removed the Envoy 7, the corporate version of the 728JET, from our “In The Works” chart last month.
The empty hangars at Oberpfaffenhofen airfield outside Munich reflect a stark impression of the decline Germany’s aerospace industry has experienced over the past decade. But if one were to look hard enough, signs of renewal have begun to emerge at this extensive industrial site, where Dornier GmbH built scores of aircraft for more than 60 years.
A series of visits to Haikou, China, by AvCraft managing director Wolfgang Walter finally paid dividends last month, when Hainan Airlines placed a firm order for 20 Fairchild Dornier 328JETs. The contract, signed during a May 3 ceremony hosted by German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and attended by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, converted options on five airplanes to firm status and added a new order for 15 of the PW306B-powered jets.
AvCraft Aviation, the Leesburg, Va.-based parent company of Germany’s Fairchild Dornier, has decided to build the wings for the Dornier 328Jet at its plant outside Munich after signing a deal with EAG Engineering + Design to supply the airfoils’ production tooling. The April 13 announcement came after a standoff with San Antonio’s M7 Aerospace over the value of the only existing tooling ended months of failed negotiation.
German police arrested AvCraft Aviation CEO Ben Bartel last Wednesday at Frankfurt International Airport for tax evasion. Bartel, architect of a failed attempt to resurrect Germany’s Fairchild Dornier from bankruptcy, allegedly evaded €7 million ($8.53 million) in taxes through a fictitious transaction in the Cayman Islands.
German authorities have released AvCraft Aviation chairman Ben Bartel from jail some two weeks after sending him there on suspicion of tax evasion.
AvCraft CEO Ben Bartel in late January announced the restart of Dornier 328JET production at the company’s plant in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, just outside Munich. Headquartered at Leesburg, Va., AvCraft one year ago acquired production rights for the 328/328JET and its corporate version, the Envoy 3, as well as for the stretched 428JET that might be developed later.
AvCraft Aviation announced it will restart the former Fairchild Dornier 328JET production line in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Under the plan, the first completed 30-seat 328JET is expected to roll off the production line by the fourth quarter. According to AvCraft CEO Ben Bartel, the company has sold all but two of 18 white-tail aircraft inherited when AvCraft purchased the Fairchild Dornier 328 program last year.