IPTN intends to continue with low level development work on the 100/130-seat N2130 and look for international partners for as long as possible, while shareholders debate the future of the programme's Dua Satu Tiga Puluh (DSTP) underwriter.

"We will continue on a very small scale, minimising spending, but we're to continue as far as possible until we receive notice from DSTP to stop," says IPTN vice- president Ilham Habibie, son of Indonesian president, Bacharuddin Habibie. The special purpose funding company for the project is expected to meet again in December, when shareholders will decide whether to liquidate their investment. IPTN had hoped to have DSTP's support through to March 1999 to enable it to complete the pre-development phase of the N2130 project. The state-run company planned to use the interim period to search for potential international partners to back later development.

"As DSTP has not come to a final decision, this is still only a proposal," explains Habibie.

Several options were raised at a recent shareholder meeting in Jakarta, but none called for continued N2130 support, according to local reports. Investors appear to be divided over whether to seek a refund of the remaining unspent Rp1.2 trillion ($91 million), or invest the funds elsewhere.

Habibie remains confident that scaled-down progress can still be sustained while a solution is found, but expenditure on external testing is likely to be postponed. "The work on N2130 is now predominantly engineering man hour work. There are still some tests to be done, but the man hour work is internal," he explains.

IPTN had been planning to conduct windtunnel tests in Europe, but Habibie admits that this is probably now too expensive.

The more immediate priority is to increase sales of the existing CN235 turboprop and find partners to finish development and start production of the larger N250. "We've still not found a solution, but I firmly believe we will in the next three to six months," predicts Habibie.

Source: Flight International