AvCraft Aerospace's administrators hope to find a buyer for the German aircraft manufacturer by the start of June. The company, which filed for insolvency last month, has a "realistic chance" of surviving insolvency intact and continuing production of the Dornier 328Jet, says its preliminary administrator Martin Prager.

"Early discussions with potential investors are very encouraging," Prager adds. AvCraft Aerospace has a readily developed product, with no development costs and an "outstanding" reputation in the market, as well as an experienced management team in Germany – all factors that will help make the company more attractive to a potential investor, which he says could come either from the industrial or private equity sector.

US-based AvCraft bought the Dornier 328Jet production line from Fairchild Dornier in February 2003. "The full production restart of the 328Jet in May 2004 was beset with enormous financial operating expenses," the administrator says. Several months of delays in the delivery of four aircraft, three of them for Chinese carrier Hainan, had a negative impact on the company's cashflow and "the financial standing of AvCraft in the USA was simply not strong enough", says Prager.

The company has four firm aircraft orders on its books, plus 21 options. A northern European government has also expressed an interest in ordering a variant of the 328, provided it can be confident of the future servicing of the product, the administrator says.

"The major issue is that the market regains confidence and sees a sustainable future in the company. Once we're there the product will sell itself," Prager adds.

Prager, and AvCraft Aerospace managing director Wolfgang Walter, say Hainan Airlines and other customers have reiterated their interest.

"The Dornier 328Jet is a good aircraft for growing niche markets and has attracted orders accordingly," Prager says.



Source: Flight International