Dutch company NG Aircraft is citing interest in retrofit modification of Fokker 100s to its proposed modernised design, although the primary consideration will still be new airframes.
NG Aircraft has secured a €20 million ($27 million) loan from a Dutch Government agency to fund a prototype 'XF Series' aircraft, which will use the original 'Q001' Fokker 100 test airframe.
No engine selection has been made but NG Aircraft chief Jaap Rosen Jacobson says the company is in discussions with "three or four" potential suppliers. He declines to identify them.
The modified design includes new avionics and winglets, and NG Aircraft claims the aircraft will reduce fuel-burn by 18% compared with the Embraer 190.
Carriers are looking for a completely new airframe, says Jacobson, but he adds that that some have shown interest in retrofitting their current fleet.
He says, however, that the company plans to concentrate on developing the new aircraft before considering retrofit possibilities.
Jacobson says the initial stage of the programme, to develop a demonstrator aircraft, will take €90 million in funding, including the Government agency loan.
He says that half of the remaining sum is "already funded" and adds: "We don't expect difficulties with the other half."
© Tim Bicheno-Brown
Once the first stage of development is complete, says NG Aircraft, the risks and costs of starting production of the modernized aircraft will be at a "very manageable" level.
"That is when a final decision on production will be made, in concert with launch customers and financing," it adds. NG Aircraft believes the new aircraft could enter service in 2015.