Daher Socata will decide whether it is to launch a new twin-engined business aircraft late this year or early next year.

French aerospace supplier Daher, which acquired a 70% stake in Socata from EADS early this year, is leading an effort to secure funding for the proposed new aircraft project. "We're trying to find companies and partners to help support it," says Daher co-chief executive Didier Beninca. "It's very difficult because of the [economic] crisis. It takes time."

He says without new funding, which could come from an investment firm or another manufacturer, Daher Socata will not be able to proceed with development of a new aircraft.

Daher Socata, formerly known as EADS Socata, now produces the single-engined TBM 850 turboprop. It is studying several potential jet and turboprop twin-engined concepts and Beninca says the manufacturer should be ready to select a "technological solution" at the end of 2009 or early 2010. He expects Daher at the same time will have a financial solution in place to launch the project.

"There's a lot of discussion now about the size of the aircraft and what engine to use. It's not yet defined," Beninca says. "We need to find the right solution for the market. There's a lot of aircraft in the market already today."

Daher is already a major supplier for several business aircraft programmes, including the Embraer Phenom 300, but Beninca is confident there will not be any conflicts.

He says Daher will be used to produce the "main structures" of the new aircraft, but it is not yet decided which of its facilities will be involved in the project. Daher now manufactures aircraft components in France, Mexico and Morocco.

Source: Flight International