Andrew Doyle/PRAGUE

Aero Vodochody remained firmly in the red last year, but claims to be on course to make a net profit in 2001 as it gears up to begin delivering light attack L-159s to the Czech air force.

The Czech aircraft manufacturer lost CKr2.2 billion ($64 million) last year - an 18% improvement on the previous year. Revenues, although 65% higher than in 1997, were just CKr1 billion, or less than half the loss total. President Scott White says the figures are adversely affected by the Czech requirement for inventory charges to be taken as they accrue, rather than when aircraft are delivered and paid for, as under US accounting rules.

"The financial results were influenced considerably by non-recurring costs for the development and production of the L-159, but will be offset when the aircraft are delivered to the Czech armed forces," says White.

The delivery of five L-159s by the end of this year should see revenues increase fivefold, to CKr5 billion for the year.

The company, 34% owned by Boeing, is expected to eliminate its debts and reach break-even by 2003, according to White.

Source: Flight International