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Indian reincarnation on cards for Fokker regional jet types

Indian design engineering company Cades Digitech is discussing with Dutch firm Rekkof the possible re-start of Fokker 70/100 production in India.

Cades Digitech managing director and chief executive Dataram Mishra says that talks began with Rekkof “seven to eight months ago and we have had two or three rounds of meetings”.

He says while no agreements have been reached, and he acknowledges that many others have looked at restarting production only to decide against it, talks are continuing on possible licence-production of revamped versions of the Fokker regional jet types in India. “It has not come to an advanced stage, but we have done an evaluation and the talks are still going on,” says Mishra. “There is some interest [in Fokker aircraft] in India. There are airlines and there are government requirements as well.” Mishra says that “we would have to make it for the overseas market as well to be viable” and improvements would have to be made to the original design to reduce operating costs. “The Fokker aircraft are now in the last stage of their life cycle,” he adds.

Rekkof has for years been trying to re-start production of the Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 regional jets. Manufacturer Fokker Aircraft went bankrupt in 1996 and the production lines closed in 1997. Established by Jaap Rosen Jacobson, the chairman of Belgian airline VLM, Rekkof bought the production tooling for the Fokker 70 and 100, and over the years it has held talks with several other potential buyers, including in China and South Korea. No deals were ever finalised, however.

Cades Digitech focuses on design engineering for the aerospace and automotive sectors. Mishra says the company was established five years ago and now has 350 employees. He says this will increase to 500 by the end of the year.

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