German aircraft developer Dornier Seawings is close to securing up to $100 million of funding to relaunch production of the Dornier CD-2 Seastar amphibian.
A source close to Seawings says a Singapore aerospace company has pledged up to 20% of the capital, while an Abu Dhabi-based investor, believed to be government-owned Mubadala Development, which has a 35% stake in Italian business aircraft manufacturer Piaggio, is likely to commit the remainder provided that Seawings can secure industrial partnerships to manufacture the aircraft in Abu Dhabi.
Seawings began talks last month with two aerospace companies keen to secure offset credits with the Abu Dhabi government. One is believed to be Korea Aerospace Industries, which is bidding to sell its T-50 supersonic trainer to the United Arab Emirates air force.
© Tobias Rose
|Seastars could be built again|
The aim of the proposed venture is to establish a manufacturing facility in Abu Dhabi and start production within 24 months. Seawings will also upgrade and recertificate the 12- to 15-seat, Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-112-powered aircraft, which was originally certificated in 1991.
Dornier Seawings is headed by Conrado Dornier, founder of defunct Dornier Seastar, which acquired the Seastar design rights from Dornier Composite Aircraft following its bankruptcy in 1992. The company has made two attempts to relaunch the Seastar - the first in 1993, with a Malaysian investment partner, and six years later with India's Hindustan Aeronautics.