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.
ILA has doubled in size since it moved to Berlin Schoenefeld Airport from Hanover 10 years ago. Opening on May 6, this year’s event attracted 1,067 exhibitors from 40 countries (up from 941 at ILA 2000) and 340 aircraft. During the first three days 90,000 trade visitors attended the event, 6,000 more than expected.
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.
China’s AVIC I announced a trio of orders for 35 ARJ21 regional jets during the Beijing Air Show last month. The largest of the three contracts–for 20 of the 70- to 90-passenger jets–came from Shenzhen Financial Leasing. The others involved a five-aircraft launch order from Shanghai Aviation Group and a 10-unit commitment from Shandong Airlines. AVIC I expects to fly the first prototype in 2006 and start deliveries by the end of 2007.
When China’s D’Long Group announced last year it would buy the Fairchild Dornier 728 development program from bankruptcy administrators, many questioned the little known company’s ability to attract the estimated $1 billion investment needed for certification and series production.
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.
Operators of Fairchild Metro and Merlin-series turboprops have long relied on a
VLJ and piston-twin manufacturer Adam Aircraft experienced a shift at the top yesterday, as former Fairchild Aerospace COO and McDonnell Douglas executive v-p John Wolf replaced founder Rick Adam as chairman and CEO. Wolf joined Adam Aircraft in February and has since served on the board as a liaison. Duncan Koerbel, who also joined the company in February, remains president.
Fairchild Dornier Aero Industries has filed for bankruptcy protection in a German district court, virtually ensuring the end of the latest attempt to resuscitate the long-foundering 728 regional jet. The company’s primary shareholder, Chinese investment firm D’Long, has cut off all funding for the enterprise after subsidiary D’Long Europe failed to attract any serious interest from outside investors.
Recent news reports from Taiwan suggesting that the Taiwanese government is unwilling to continue funding Sino Swearingen Aircraft’s SJ30 program are not accurate, according to Hamish Harding, chairman of the UK’s Action Aviation, which has 159 SJ30s on order.