Air Transport World

Seamless service speedster. (Dornier's 30-seat DO-328 aircraft) (includes related article on a stretched version of the DO-328 )

OBERPFAFFENHOFEN, GERMANY-Aircraft rollouts are hardware theater for those in the aerospace business. Domier's debut of its 345-kt. 328 was no different from the two other regional-aircraft rollouts held this year, except that this script had more of an intemational flavor.

Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti's videotaped rendition of Puccini's Nussun Dorma set the tone for the gala event that included 4,500 well-wishers, balloons ad nauseum and praise for Dornier by German politicians and Deutsche Aerospace (DASA) leaders, whose faces were illuminated on a giant screen behind the podium. While they talked, the partially balloon-draped 328, painted in Dornier's blue and white livery, sat in the right corner of the massive hanger, awaiting its unveiling.

Most notable among the speakers was Dr. Hans Blume, president of Dornier Luftfahrt GmbH, a subsidiary of DASA. The normally reserved Blume was animated when praising Dornier workers and building partners for their participation in the 328 project.

The rollout is particularly gratifying to Dornier's leaders, considering the rocky start of the 328 program. In December, 1988, the 328 was relaunched after a half-year delay due to a bitter battle over funding between the Dornier family and Daimler Benz, of which DASA is part. As a result, Dornier was chained with the reputation of producing an aircraft that would be obsolete when it arrived. "You can't say that about us now because we're here," said one Dornier official proudly.

Blume enlivened the crowd by introducing customers for this pressurized follow-on to the 19-seat Dornier 228. Horizon Air Chairman john Kelly, whose Alaska Airlines subsidiary has orders and options for 60 328s valued at around $260 million, acknowledged the applause for an order that has been the largest thus far for the 328. …

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