Fairchild Dornier's sales team comes to Dubai with the new 328JET in its armoury - one which it hopes will have a stronger chance of cracking the region's market-place.

The original turboprop version of the aircraft has yet to chalk up a sale in the area.

However, whereas one of the turboprop's selling points is good runway performance, says Peter Klonk, Fairchild Dornier's vice-president, sales, rest of the world, "field length is not a criteria here.

"So the jet is a better option for the Middle East, which has long runways and longer, thinner sectors, where speed is of greater value."

Speed is one factor the 328JET has in abundance compared with similarly-sized turboprops.

Initial estimates were that the fanjet-powered version would have a 375kt (695km/h) maximum cruising speed. Wind- tunnel tests, however, have encouraged Fairchild Dornier to raise that estimate to 400kt.

Following the announcement of launch orders at the Paris Air Show in June - six for Proteus of France, four plus four options for Dallas, Texas-based Aspen Mountain Air/Lone Star - the first flight of the 32-seat 328JET is scheduled for January 1998.

The arrival of the 328JET will also strengthen Fairchild Dornier's hand in the executive market, the company believes.

Whereas the turboprop version has been pitched more towards the corporate shuttle sector, the faster 328JET gives it much stronger potential as an executive aircraft.

Source: Flight Daily News