Mark Hannant and Tim Ripley

Just a couple of years after its demise, the name of the venerable Fokker company is back in the limelight at a major airshow with the announcement of two proposals to resurrect its production lines.

Forward Aircraft has been at Farnborough '98 in strength to drum up support for the relaunch of the Fokker 50 and 60 for military customers worldwide. A group of private Dutch investors, including Frits Philips of the Philips electronics family, is behind the move which could see the old Fokker hangar at Schipol East returning to life.

Managing director Wichard de Waard says production could start in 18 months if the initial target of 36 conditional orders is met.


The plan then is to produce 12 transport, ambulance or maritime patrol versions of the aircraft a year.

The company would resurrect the existing tools and designs, which are owned by the Dutch government.

Around 80 workers would be employed for final assembly of the aircraft, many of them former Fokker employees. "We have a network so we know how to find the former Fokker people," he says.

Meanwhile, Jaap Rosen Jacobson, the Dutch financier who is head of the Rekkof Restart project and president designate of what he believes will become Rekkof Aircraft, plans to oversee production of a Fokker JetLine family comprising Fokker 70s and Fokker 100s.

He claims that the planned company has already contracted with one airline, signed two Memoranda of intent and received three Letters of intent for a total of more than 20 aircraft.


A final "go/no-go" decision on restarting production will be made on 24 September, Jacobson promises.

Jacobson says his aim is to be producing 24 aircraft per year from Schipol Airport.

While the headcount of the new company will not exceed 400, the claim is that it can create more than 4,000 jobs worldwide.

Source: Flight Daily News