Air Transport World

Furling Fokker's flag.(Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker BV bankruptcy)

Faint hopes remain for saving the Dutch aircraft builder but they are waning as receivers move into the bleak picture

LONDON--Fokker is dead; long live Fokker. The IDutch aerospace manufacturer that saw the financial rug ripped rudely from under it on a traumatic day in March by its government and German Daimler-Benz group owners still flies the flag first raised 77 years ago by its founder, Anthony Fokker, making airplanes for German ace Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, among others.

The flag is in tatters but at this writing, hopes of a revival remained.

The main company, which assembled the Fokker 50 turboprop and the Fokker 70/100 jet airliners, is bankrupt, with Daimler-Benz owed 1.3 billion guilders ($770 million) and bondholders 1.6 billion guilders. And the receivers are in. Ben van Schaik, chairman of the Fokker management board, announced the collapse--making his statement in an Amsterdam aviation museum in the shadow of one of Fokker's earliest aircraft: "This is very damaging for the standing of the Netherlands in the world and will not be understood by many people."

At the same time, trade union officials criticized the government for refusing to help Fokker out financially once more, while it looked for future partnerships or a takeover. "It's a black day for us and Holland, and an industrial disaster for Europe," said one. …

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