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Swiss manufacturer RUAG expects that government agencies will account for close to half of the sales of its Do228 utility turboprop in the near future.

Martin Büsser, senior vice-president sales and marketing, says that, at present, commuter airlines account for around two-thirds of the market, with government and special missions customers the remaining third.

“There is an increase in special missions needs for this type of aircraft because of its versatility, and affordability. I expect that probably the special mission government tasks at the end of the day will be 50-50,” he says.

Key to the aircraft’s appeal in the special missions market is its aerodynamics. Büsser notes that the aircraft has a high cruise speed, but thanks to the unique design of its wing, it can also operate at slow speeds in icing conditions, even at low altitude.

A number of Do228s are in service around the world in coast guard, aerial surveillance and utility transport roles with government and military agencies.

Its short take-off and landing capability has also made it suited to niche commercial operations, such as in the Channel Islands – with Guernsey carrier Aurigny, which RUAG labels as “blue-chip” operations.

Having now launched a new distributor arrangement in North America, Büsser says that RUAG is also looking to further sales growth in Asia and Africa.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that there are eight RUAG-built Do228s in service and 15 on order, while a further 96 were built by Hindustan Aeronautics are also in operation. A further 132 built by Fairchild Dornier remain in use.

Source: Cirium Dashboard