Stork confirms that a partner aiming to revive production of the Fokker 70/100 line has secured a purchase agreement with an Iranian carrier, raising prospects that the regional jet family could be relaunched at the Paris air show in June.

Simogh Air has signed as a launch customer to restart the Fokker line, agreeing to buy 80-seat Fokker 70s. Rekkof, which owns the rights to sell the Fokker design, signed a memorandum of understanding with Simogh during the Kish air show in Iran in January for about 50 aircraft.

Rekkof takes its name from the reverse spelling of Fokker. The company has signed Stork to provide engineering, tooling and maintenance support if the Fokker line is relaunched. Stork has acquired the assets of Fokker. Rekkof plans to use the Rolls-Royce Tay 650 engine for future sales.

The Rekkof-Stork team would enter a 70- to 90-seat regional jet market that has taken off since Fokker production ceased in 1996. GE Aircraft Engines forecasts the 61- to 90-seat sector to be the only growth market in regional aircraft through to 2024, with orders for 91- to 120-seat and 30- to 60-seat jets stabilising at current rates.

Restarting Fokker production would introduce a competitor to the Bombardier CRJ700/900 and Embraer 170/190 families. The agreement with Simogh Air is a major boost for the revival effort, but is not enough to be the single catalyst to restart Fokker production. Rekkof is seeking to sign a deal with at least one more airline – preferably European – before the Paris air show.

Stork officials say talks are ongoing with an undisclosed European carrier. A combined order for at least 80 aircraft is considered necessary to justify relaunching the programme, say Stork sources. Iran's airlines have become major operators of Fokker aircraft.

Source: Flight International