Sir - The recent announcement that Aero International (Regional) (AI(R)) is to launch its AI(R) 70 regional jet at the 1997 Paris air show should be encouraging news for the UK aerospace industry.

I would not place my money on the aircraft being assembled in the UK, however. It is obvious that France's Aerospatiale, whose "ball game" it is, will argue in favour of the Toulouse site, on the grounds that the aircraft will be designed and marketed in France and that it should, therefore, be built in France.

I believe that AI(R) will eventually merge with Airbus Industrie to form a multi-national company (as opposed to a consortium), with its headquarters and final-assembly plant for all types located at Toulouse.

If and when that happens, British Aerospace at Woodford and Prestwick (if those sites remain open) will then become mere suppliers of components, on the lines of the Broughton and Filton sites.


Liverpool, UK

Source: Flight International