ALITALIA WILL decide imminently, whether, to select British Aerospace's Avroliner or Fokker's Jetline family, as its new 70- to 100-seat regional aircraft.

The airline initially favoured Fokker to fulfil its 15-aircraft requirement, but its board declined to make a final decision at a 5 April meeting after Avro presented renewed industrial offset proposals.

Avro's offer now includes 200,000 man-hours of work for Alenia via the planned ATR/Jetstream/Avro regional-airliner venture, together with an offer of AlliedSignal engine-maintenance work to troubled Piaggio.

Sources close to Alitalia say that the board's decision-making has been muddied by pressure to try to trade-off a Fokker deal against a Dutch military purchase of Agusta helicopters. Military observers, however, regard the latter contest as a race between McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems AH-64 Apache and the Eurocopter Tiger.

Source: Flight International