Safire Aircraft is evaluating bids from potential suppliers of the airframe, engines, avionics and other systems for its S-26 personal jet. The company is keeping to its plan to fly the aircraft next year, but is still trying to arrange at least $100 million in external financing.

West Palm Beach, Florida-based Safire says the response to its request for proposals indicates more suppliers are taking the programme seriously. The company has received multiple bids to supply the 1,000lb-thrust (4.5kN) engine. The baseline powerplant has been the TF-1000 from newcomer Agilis Engines, but others have offered engines, Safire says.

Work on the S-26 is being paid for by the company's founders, the Margaritoff family, while efforts to find funding continue. Safire says the Margaritoffs have agreed to "pay the bills" to keep the S-26 on track for certification in 2004. The design is due to be frozen in July.

Safire says it is negotiating with Florida's Palm Beach county on an offer of $70-75 million in incentives to locate final assembly at North County Airport. The company has evaluated two sites outside Florida.

Source: Flight International