Andrzej Jeziorski/SINGAPORE

The Taiwanese Government has revealed plans for a business jet joint venture between the island's aerospace industry and US manufacturer Century Aerospace.

According to the economic affairs ministry's Committee for Aviation and Space Industry Development (CASID), the venture will focus on production of the Century Aerospace CA-100 light business jet. Parts production in Taiwan could begin "early next year".

CASID says a contract is scheduled to be signed with Century by the end of this month. The Taiwanese manufacturers involved are Aerospace Industrial Development (AIDC), Chen-feng Machinery & Enterprise, Fon Sou Machinery, Gongin Precision Industry, Jui Li Enterprise, and Topkey. "AIDC is the primary contact [in the group]," says CASID.

The move will be part of the committee's "Strategies for the Development of the Business Aeroplane Industry", now being drafted. The aim is to boost the volume of business aircraft production in Taiwan from $8 million in 1998 to $110 million in 2007, with an average annual growth rate of 30%.

Century has been seeking $60 million in private investment to continue CA-100 development, with certification targeted for 2003. The first risk-sharing partner to sign up for the programme was SGL Carbon/Hitco, which is supplying the fuselage (Flight International, 11-17 January). Century, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, says it will announce all the remaining partners in time to coincide with the Williams FJ33-1-powered CA-100's first flight at the end of this year.

CASID says Taiwanese partner companies will "invest money into Century" and the government will help the companies in "acquiring technology, and other things". No Taiwanese Government money will go directly into the US company.

The committee says it hopes that Taiwan will be able to design, manufacture and market its own commercial aircraft within 10 years.

To date, Taiwan's involvement in business aircraft production has been limited. AIDC is a joint venture partner with Aero Vodochody in Ibis Aerospace, developing the single-turboprop Ae 270 Ibis and manufacturing the aft fuselage and empennage of the Bombardier Continental business jet. Another Taiwanese company, investment consortium Sino Aerospace, is a partner in Texas-based Sino Swearingen Aircraft, which is producing the SJ-30-2 business jet.

Source: Flight International