The South Korean Government is understood to have given formal notice that the Samsung Aerospace bid to rescue Fokker has been abandoned.

Administrators of the bankrupt Netherlands aircraft manufacturer announced at the end of 1996 that Samsung's latest rescue plan had run out of time following the announcement by UK manufacturer Short Brothers that it would no longer build wings for Fokker regional jets (Flight International, 4-10 December, 1996).

The administrators said at the time that they would still continue looking for a buyer and that Samsung could submit a fresh business plan, but the South Korean Government now appears to have ruled out that option.

Samsung's bid met delays after being submitted for approval to the South Korean Government, which has had a long-standing ambition to set up production of 100-seater regional jets in the country. Samsung would have led a consortium of other South Korean industrial giants, including Daewoo and Hyundai, in the rescue.

Russian design bureau Yakovlev says that it is still in the running to rescue Fokker, although those close to the fortunes of the Dutch company say that no detailed plans or funding options have yet been submitted. A series of Dutch entrepreneurs has also been linked with potential Fokker rescues, but no firm proposals have yet emerged.

The administrators admit that the chances of resurrecting the company are now "extremely small", with a critical deadline looming as the final handful of aircraft is completed early this year, leaving the assembly lines idle.

Shorts has already dismantled its wing production line, and although president Roy McNulty says that the company would be willing to help move the operation to another manufacturer, he admits that such a solution would add to the costs of a rescue, which have already risen by tens of millions of dollars because of the delays.

Source: Flight International