Development of a proposed Fokker 100 upgrade will be partially undertaken in Brazil following an agreement to establish an aerostructures manufacturing facility in Anapolis.
The plant, 50km (30 miles) north-east of state capital Goiania, will be a prime supplier to NG Aircraft, the company behind the programme. It says construction of the facility will begin this year, and that the project is fully funded.
NG Aircraft is expecting to begin work shortly on modifying a current airframe with new engines and winglets to create a demonstrator model of the twinjet, designated the Fokker 100NG.
While the company has yet to disclose an engine selection, NG Aircraft managing director Maarten Van Eeghen says it has "one option which we understand in detail".
He says the would-be airframer will be "ready to hit the button" next month to begin the 22-month modification scheme.
"The main worry is time to market," says Van Eeghen, adding that potential airline customers are telling the company to "get off our seats" to be ready to compete.
"I think we're very close to starting the first phase," he says. NG Aircraft is "very happy" with the design and Van Eeghen insists the jet will be "very competitive" - claiming it will be 65kg (145lb) per seat lighter, on an equal-seat basis, than the Bombardier CS100.
NG Aircraft has been discussing a Brazilian partnership on the Fokker 100NG since June last year. Anapolis's city authorities, it says, are developing a high-technology aeronautical zone in the vicinity of the civil airport.
"[This facility] will be part of our own supply for the Fokker NG," says Van Eeghen, adding that it will produce subassemblies and components not only for the twinjet but also third-party programmes. "It's an industrial initiative from the government. It will also work for the global aviation industry."
Source: Flight International