The row over export financing for aircraft sales threatened to spread yesterday, as Fairchild Dornier said it would use every means to ensure it remained competitive when fighting for aircraft contracts.

The comments from Fairchild Dornier chairman Chuck Pieper came just a couple of hours after the latest exchange of words from Brazil's Embraer and Canada's Bombardier over the legality of the two countries' respective export finance schemes.

Asked how his company would cope with Brazil's Proex III and identical Canadian funding introduced as retaliation, Pieper said: "We have the same view as Canada. We will not be left out of the market. We will go to all our constituees... and we will make sure we are competitive.

"Our view is that Proex III is as illegal as Proex I and II shouldn't happen."

His comments came as he announced a clutch of orders for the company's 328JET and 728JET aircraft totalling some $297 million.

The largest deal, for $230 million, came from CSA Czech Airlines, which will take eight of the 70 to 85-seat 728JETs. Four will come directly from Fairchild Dornier, while four will come from the batch of 50 firmly ordered last year by lessor GE Capital Aviation Services.

CSA will take three aircraft in both 2003 and 2004, and one apiece in 2005 and 2006. The contract allows the carrier to convert the last two aircraft to the 90 to 100-seat 928JET. Prague-based CSA will use the aircraft to replace some of its fleet of ATR 72 turboprops.

Also announced yesterday were orders for two 328JET regional jets for Air Namibia, which will be delivered later this year, and three corporate versions of the aircraft. One will go to Madrid, Spain-based, Grupo InvestBlue, while the identities of the remaining purchasers are not being disclosed.

Source: Flight Daily News