Production of Israel Aircraft Industries new Galaxy twin-turbofan business jet could be threatened unless the Israeli Company can find a new foreign partner to provide some of the funds. The Israeli Company is negotiating with American and European companies, but has failed to reach an agreement.

IAI president Moshe Keret confirms the move, saying "We are looking for a partner for strategic reasons to widen our basis in executive jet production."

The programme already involves Russian design bureau Yakovlev, which is involved in development work. According to the agreement it will build the fuselage and empennage at the Saratov production plant. In spite of that, investment in series production by a western company is now considered vital.

Sources say that opposition in the Israeli Government, mainly from the defence ministry, to further investments by IAI in executive jets, is one of the reasons efforts are being made to find a risk-sharing partner. Slow sales of the IAI's Astra executive jet, has increased the opposition. Only eight aircraft were sold last year.

The first Galaxy flight was scheduled for early 1996 and certification for 1997. The current search for a partner may delay the completion of the prototype.

Source: Flight International