Air Transport World

Fokker on the crest of a wave. (Fokker B.V, considering a new family of airliners based on the Fokker 50 and Fokker 100 air transports)

Amsterdam-After surviving near-bankruptcy brought on by the enormous load of developing the Fokker 50 and 100 at the same time, the Dutch aerospace company has regained its confidence to such an extent that it is considering seriously a new "family" of airliners based on the 50 and 100 models.

Bolstered by orders for the Fokker 100 from such as Swissair, 10 plus four options, American Airlines, 75 and 75, and USAir, 40 firm, Fokker is testing the world airline market with two further versions offering 130 and 80 seats.

Decisions on whether to proceed with such projects could come during the year but are being clouded by the rush of other European manufacturers into the 100-1 30-seat market, notably British Aerospace, with its twin-engine 146 NRA (130 seats), Airbus industrie with its 130-seat A319, and a consortium of Deutsche Aerospace of Germany, Aerospatiale of France and Aeritalia of italy, 80-90 and 130 seats.

Fokker, while surveying the market, says it would welcome approaches from potential partners but will not go out chasing, as its Fokker 100 already is a proved product that could be adapted economically into a family of aircraft.

Erik Jan Nederkoorn, vice chairman and senior executive VP of Fokker, told ATW: "The first reaction of airlines to these times is to stop everything. in practice, what we have seen is USAir converting options (ATW, 9/90), because they know that new aircraft are giving them 30% fuel savings. They want to keep up frequency and believe it is better to fly with smaller aircraft than larger ones. What gives us some concern is that it is not so easy for airlines to finance new aircraft; less capital is available and interest rates have gone up."

Nederkoorn said that the Fokker 100 is sold out until 1994 and the Fokker 50 through the end of this year. The aim is to get production of a 130-seat version, which he later referred to as the Fokker 130, out of the greater productivity that the company has built, with the work force remaining stable at 13,000. The F-16 fighter line will be closed within a year and that capacity will be used for the 100. …

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