Fairchild Dornier chief executive Thomas Brandt is seeking a licensing deal with Russian or Chinese regional jet manufacturers in a last- ditch effort to save the 728/928 regional jet programmes. The move follows the announcement by Italian manufacturer Alenia earlier this month that it has no interest in acquiring the programme.

Fairchild Dornier says that it has yet to start negotiations with any potential Russian and Chinese regional jet manufacturers to buy the blueprints and production licence to the 728/928.

After an evaluation of Fairchild Dornier's operations Alenia says that it would not be feasible to make an offer for the programme or aerostructures business due to concerns over economic returns. 

Fairchild Dornier administrator Eberhard Braun says that, although Alenia believed the project was "highly interesting and technically advanced", it did not feel that it could take the aircraft through to production without additional investment from other companies. Alenia declines to elaborate on Braun's comments.

Fairchild Dornier confirms that Alenia was the last hope of keeping the line open at the company's Oberpfaffenhofen plant, meaning that around 1,800 jobs will now go.

Meanwhile, potential bidders for the 328JET say extensive state support will be essential to keep the aircraft in production after September.

Three groups remain interested. In addition to regional jet manufacturing hopeful Alliance Aircraft and investment group Dimeling Schreiber & Park, Italian business aircraft manufacturer Piaggio now confirms that it is considering acquiring the programme, despite earlier denying any interest.

Richard Schreiber of Dimeling Schreiber &Park says it would need to restore customer confidence and obtain state export subsidies if the aircraft is to be financially viable. "We are conducting due diligence...basically on the business deal to find if it has made money in the past and if it can make money in the future," he says.

Source: Flight International