Aero International (Regional) (AI(R)) is on the verge of announcing the two shortlisted engine manufacturers for its planned AI(R) 70 regional jet.

The announcement at the Show, is due "close to October", with final selection in the second quarter of 1997, says new CEO Patrick Gavin. The company plans to launch the jet in mid 1997.

After a quiet start, AI(R) is adopting a much higher profile at this show. The demise of Fokker has left a big hole in the 70-seat market which AI(R) plans to fill.

In the long-term, it sees itself being the Airbus Industrie of the European regional aircraft scene, with Bombardier its north American rival.

It aims to win 50% of the 2,000 aircraft in the 60-90 seat category which will be needed over the next 20 years.

The current candidates for the AI(R) engine are the GE CF34-8C, the Snecma PW SPW 14 and the Rolls-Royce Allison AE 3012.

The AI(R) 70, and a shorter version of around 60 seats, will start a planned family of jets, which will later include a stretched version of around 80 seats.

"We are presently in the feasibility phase and we are approaching the pre-development phase, which we will consider in the very near future. We hope to have the go-ahead in mid 97," says Gavin.

He adds that a complete degree of commonality will exist between all models.

Talks have been held with 20 companies and a preliminary market survey carried out in the USA and Europe.

"These first contacts encourage us to intensify our work in order to respond to a market which requires an economical and performing aircraft with the jet appeal."

He adds that the first flight can be expected in mid-2000 and entry into service in mid-2001.





Source: Flight Daily News