Czech republic's largest civil aviation manufacturer establishes final assembly centre to tap growing demand in Americas

Czech trainer manufacturer Moravan Aeroplanes is establishing a final assembly centre in the USA to meet expanding orders in Latin and North America.

The Czech Republic's largest civil aviation manufacturer has signed a joint venture with Houston, Texas-based Pereira Internacional Aérea, to fit engines, avionics and interiors of Zlin 242Ls and 143Ls at Beeville, Texas.

Moravan vice president Patrik Joachimczyk says that, as the US accounts for over half of Zlin aircraft orders, it is "senseless to transport engines back and forth over the Atlantic". The low-wing, two-seater 242L is powered by a single Textron Lycoming AEIO-360-A1B6 piston engine with a three-blade Hartzell propeller, both of which are shipped to Moravan's plant in central Moravia, Czech Republic.

Moravan is concentrating on Latin America following its orders from the Argentine, Mexican and Peruvian air forces for the Z-242. Joachimczyk says it is in discussions with "most other Latin American governments" for the trainer, as well as having a backlog of over 100 orders from flying schools in the USA. The company is also in a bidding process with the US Air Force to replace its Slingsby T-3A Firefly trainers, based at Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Moravan says it will use the Beeville facility to launch marketing operations for aircraft formerly belonging to Let, incorporated into Moravan as subsidiary Letecké Zavody last week after Morovan's recent purchase of the bankrupt manufacturer (Flight International, 24-30 July).

The company says it will develop the former Let Z137T turboprop agricultural aircraft and the L-610, and conduct research into larger transport aircraft.

Short-term plans are to establish a spare-parts and maintenance facility at Beeville for the L-410 and L-420 turboprop commuter aircraft and the L-23 and L-33 gliders to support existing customers.

The firm says it is also negotiating with an undisclosed Asian manufacturer to establish a similar support centre for Asian customers, likely to be built around Let's existing Singapore site. Moravan has recently received an order from the South Korean forestry ministry for Zlin 242s and is exploring other agencies in the region.

Meanwhile, Moravan is filing a libel suit against several Prague newspapers. They reported Moravan was heading for insolvency after former Czech national postal bank, CSOB, filed a bankruptcy petition against the Moravan Otrokovice holding company. Moravan says it will sue for loss of reputation, principally among international aerospace firms for which the company subcontracts.

Source: Flight International