Dutch group investigates overhaul and conversion opportunities as regional aircraft approach end of service lives

Netherlands industrial conglomerate Stork is working on a series of strategies to grow its aerospace business as the Fokker regional aircraft family approaches the end of its design life.

Stork has seen its group share price rise from c2 to c18 in the past two years, partly due to the success of its glassfibre/aluminum Glare material, but due also to the successful remarketing of most of the 150 Fokker 100 regional jets abandoned following the post-September 2001 aviation downturn. Stork says it plans to double aerospace revenues over the next five years, with the aim of taking 4% of global aerospace subcontracts, compared with the 2% it now has. However, 42% of Stork Aerospace's revenue comes from the Fokker Services company - which remarkets, services and maintains the defunct Fokker 70 and 100 regional jets and F27 and Fokker 50 turboprops - and Stork is keen to find a role for the services company as the aircraft begin to reach the end of their lives, says Richard Jacobs, Fokker Services vice-president marketing and sales.

The Fokker 100 has a design life of 90,000 flight hours. Most of the 278 aircraft built have completed around half of this. The company is investigating servicing other regional jets and offering conversions to ride out the exit from service of the family, which is expected to accelerate by the end of the decade.

Stork group says: "There is no concern at headquarters for the next five years, but we know that in 20 years it would be a problem, and so there are all kinds of strategic plans going around". Jacobs says the "obvious choice" would be to extend Fokker Services' parts, servicing and remarketing expertise to other aircraft, principally regional aircraft using Amsterdam Schiphol airport, where the company is to open its KLM joint venture maintenance facility next month.

Fokker Services launched its Future 50 Maritime conversion last year and expects its first order this week, says Jacobs.



Source: Flight International