Air Transport World

Saab SF-340 at age two.

Saab SF-340 at age two

Saab-Scania A.B. is seeing its wishes for a substantial civil aircraft program come true, and the SF-340 remains the backbone of those plans. After a hiatus from civil aircraft production exceeding 30 years, Saab now exercises full control of the SF-340, its largest civil aircraft product.

From 1948 to 1952, Saab built 18 Saab 90 Scandia airliners, its last civil aircraft. In the ensuing years, the Saab Aircraft Division (SAD) focused entirely on military aircraft, providing a variety of machines to the Swedish Air Force.

The shift back to civil programs started when Saab signed contracts in 1977 and 1978 to build parts for the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and the British Aerospace 146, respectively. Most recently Saab signed with Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company to participate in the 7J7 project.

The shift toward non-military aircraft gained momentum in 1980 when Saab entered a partnership with Fairchild Industries to share the risks of designing and building the SF-340. Last year SAD brought in $467 million, 10% of Saab-Scania's total sales, up 70% from 1984's $275 million. Civil projects accounted for $215 million (46%) of last year's SAD income, with the SF-340 providing $97 million (45%), the largest contribution by a single program. …

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