Maintenance arm expects up to six aircraft to be placed with VIP customers in Europe

Fokker Services is eyeing the corporate and VIP market for the Fokker 100 and is studying various upgrades such as winglets to boost the twinjet's appeal.

Fokker Services vice-president marketing Erik Goedhart is confident that the Fokker 100 will start carving out a niche in the corporate market soon: "Four to six ex-US Airways Fokker 100s will be delivered with VIP configurations in Europe in the next year," he says.

The company's business development manager Peter van Oostrum adds: "There is tangible interest from Europe and elsewhere in a corporate Fokker 100," saying that aircraft would be priced at $10-12 million with a "reasonable interior". He also sees potential demand in Asia, particularly Japan.

Van Oostrum says that the company is targeting corporations, heads of state and wealthy individuals. "There is a significant replacement requirement for existingcorporate airliners such as theBAC One-Eleven, Boeing 727-100, Fokker F28 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9," he says.

Potential customers are in talks with Fokker Services about 19-seat VIP configurations, says van Oostrum, who adds that the Fokker 100 would seat around 75 passengers in a corporate shuttle layout.

Fokker Services offers a belly fuel tank upgrade, which boosts capacity by 60% compared to the airline version. Tankage increases by 6,000kg (13,200lb) to around 16,730kg, providing "London-US East Coast or Oman-UK range," says van Oostrum.

To boost performance further, van Oostrum says Fokker Services is contemplating a winglet modification for the corporate Fokker 100. "Fokker has experience of winglet engineering, so we'd probably develop them ourselves," he says.

The Dutch maintenance arm of Stork launched the "Future100" alliance with Rolls-Royce this month in an effort to improve the appeal of the 100-seat, R-R Tay-powered aircraft. With 70 of the 270 Fokker 100s grounded, and 70 earmarked for parking, the companies aim to improve the twinjet's appeal to new operators by offering "Total Care" start-up and guaranteed maintenance cost packages (Flight International, 11-17 February).

Irish start-up EU jet, created last year by former TransAer boss P J McGoldrick, has linked with Fokker 100 leasing specialist Debis AirFinance to offer wet leases and charters. Shannon-based EUjet is to start operations in May.

Source: Flight International