Ruag Aviation is restarting serial production of the Dornier 228 utility turboprop twin. “The move sends a clear signal to the market that Ruag is strongly committed to its Dornier 228 program and expects steady growth in this segment,” the company said here at the Paris Air Show.
The Swiss-based company plans to produce four aircraft per year starting in mid-2016, with this number set to increase along with demand. To meet this schedule, the final assembly line for the Do-228 has already been set up in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
Last year, Ruag Aviation (Chalet 120, Static A5 and Hall 4 B77) signed a partnership agreement with Indian airframe manufacturer Tata Advanced Systems to manufacture fuselages and wings for the turboprop. Assembly of the first new Do-228 fuselage has already begun and the wing panels are currently being formed, Ruag said.
“The Dornier 228 is experiencing significant growth in demand for special missions, including maritime policing and border control. In its special mission configuration, the twin turboprop offers numerous advantages, with on-station time of up to eight hours and easy installation of equipment,” said Volker Wallrodt, Ruag’s senior vice president for business jets, Do-228 and components. “As a commuter aircraft in places such as Venezuela, the Dornier 228 has proven its STOL and hot-and-high capabilities, as well as its ability to operate on unprepared runways. The aircraft can also be re-configured from passenger to cargo-transportation layout with minimum effort.”
Ruag believes that Do-228 demand will be strong is “key regions” of Asia and Africa, where the trend among operators is for 19-seat aircraft.
Ruag Aviation recently teamed with ENAER of Chile to cooperate in MRO, upgrades and lifecycle support. Ruag said that it will benefit from ENAER’s “close ties with the local market” while ENAER will benefit from the Swiss company’s “extensive network and international reach.” The strategic alliance came into effect on May 19.