CZECH AIRCRAFT manufacturer Aero Vodochody warns that its finances remain weak after posting further losses for 1994, but believes that recovery is now in prospect.

Following the collapse of Communism, Vodochody's aircraft output plummeted from more than 240 units, to a low point of two in 1992.

After taking over its own marketing, the company's has begun to raise production rates, and aircraft output is expected to reach 12 this year, growing to 33 by 1997.

General director Zdenek Chalupnik reveals that the company lost CKr119 million ($4.6 million) in 1994, however, and cautions that its finances remain extremely strained.

Vodochody has invested more than CKr1 billion in new-aircraft development work during the past four years, and the total is expected to exceed CKr5 billion over the next ten years, including work on the L-159 light-combat aircraft and the ten-seat Ae270 turboprop commuter.

Chalupnik says that the company has CKr30 billion of orders and adds that, in 1994, notched up export sales which were worth CKr4.2 billion.

The focus is now on securing jet-trainer aircraft orders for Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, which has already ordered 36 aircraft.

Source: Flight International