Fairchild Dornier and Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) are in negotiation to move wing production for the 328 turboprop from Germany to India.

The Indian company has also been earmarked to build the aircraft's fuselage shell, now fabricated by Daewoo in South Korea.

In a separate move, Fairchild Dornier 228 production is being transferred completely to HAL from Germany.

HAL has been producing the 228-201 since the mid-1980s. Under a newly signed agreement, the Indian manufacturer will take over building the most recent 228-212 version and acquire worldwide marketing rights for both, according to Gerd Shonbuchner, Fairchild Dornier's vice-president of aircraft sales.

The -212 was introduced in Europe in 1989 with increased payload, improved engine power and a series of other upgrades and, like the Indian version, has been selling slowly in recent years.

The switch away from German production is part of a policy by new Dornier owner Fairchild to drive down costs, a process which had already been planned by its previous owner Daimler-Benz Aerospace.

If the wing deal is completed, HAL will supply a completed wing, apart from the moving surfaces, to the Dornier final-assembly plant in Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich. The wing of the 32-seat aircraft uses virtually the same technology as that for the 228.

The agreement covers wings for new turbofan versions of the aircraft now being considered by Fairchild Dornier. The switch leaves the Germany company manufacturing only the empennage and a small number of fuselage structures.

HAL has also been invited to bid to build the fuselage shell for the 328 in competition with Italy's Aermacchi, which assembles the fuselage and cockpit. The existing fuselage contract with Daewoo for 120 sets is almost at an end and Fairchild Dornier is taking the chance to to move the work, possibly to a country which offers better sales prospects for the aircraft.

Source: Flight International