AvCraft Aviation plans to breathe new life into the stalled Fairchild Dornier 328JET programme by offering new variants to the business aviation market.

The Texas, US-based aircraft, maintenance and modification company - which is poised within the next few weeks to complete its pending purchase of the 328JET programme - already offers a corporate shuttle modification package for the regional airliner type.

AvCraft Aviation president Mike Winters says the company is banking on corporate sales to account for several of the 16 328JET white tails the company will acquire as part of the deal with Fairchild Dornier's administrator. "I'm sure there'll be a couple of Envoy 3s as people are calling all day long to buy these aircraft," says Winters.

Before its insolvency, Fairchild Dornier appointed AvCraft to assist with the modification of the Envoy 3 prototype and the application for a US Federal Aviation Administration supplemental type certificate (STC). The programme took a back seat after Fairchild Dornier declared insolvency early last year, but AvCraft is again pursuing the STC and has about 60% of the work completed, it says.

Winters hopes to secure the STC in about three months, by which time AvCraft plans to hold production rights to the 328JET and Envoy 3.

AvCraft has held since early 2002 an STC on a simpler shuttle interior modification for the 328JET, which allows the aircraft to be operated with 12, 14, 18 or 29 seats. But AvCraft has only sold one modification to its Ohio-based sister company AvCraft Jet Charters. Winters says it has lined up an unnamed customer for a second modification and expects the completion of the 328JET acquisition will spur new sales and eliminate any technical support uncertainties surrounding the aircraft.

Source: Flight International