Twin turboprop also considered favourite for Malaysia's six-aircraft lease requirement

Fokker Services is closing in on maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) deals with Indonesia and potentially Malaysia, following the delivery of a new MPA conversion product to launch customer the Netherlands.

Industry sources say the Fokker 50 MPA is the favourite for a potential six-aircraft lease deal with Malaysian maritime enforcement agency MMEA and a two-aircraft purchase by the Indonesian ministry of fisheries and marine affairs. Fokker has been in negotiations with Indonesia's fisheries ministry since last year, when the Fokker 50 was selected over other candidates. A contract has still not been awarded, but a fresh round of talks has just begun.

Airod, Fokker, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and PMB teamed up last year to propose the lease of at least six converted Fokker 50s to MMEA, but the Malaysian government has decided instead to launch a competition to select a platform. A tender, which may be released as early as next month, is also expected to draw bids from ATR, Bombardier and Indonesian Aerospace.

The Fokker 50 is considered the favourite because MAS is planning to replace its fleet of 10 Fokker 50s in 2006-7 and modifying them for MMEA would solve a headache for government holding company PMB, which owns all of MAS's aircraft. Local maintenance company Airod may take over the operation and maintenance of the fleet, using pilots seconded from MAS.

MMEA requires manufacturers to team up with local operators because it does not have the budget or expertise to operate its own fleet.

Malaysian regional carrier Berjaya Air is considering teaming with Bombardier to offer the Dash 8 Q200, and cargo carrier Transmile plans to team with Indonesian Aerospace to offer the CN-235. ATR and China's Xian Aircraft are also in talks with operators to offer MPA variants of their respective ATR 42 and MA60 turboprops.

Fokker is also competing in Brunei and India against several MPA vendors, but is considered a long shot for these programmes.


Source: Flight International