Fairchild Dornier has broken ground on a new plant in Germany that will be used to produce the 728JET regional jet.

The production centre is at Fairchild's Oberpfaffenhofen site. At the heart of the centre will be a gantry riveting machine - a robot that will join skin panel sub-assemblies into upper and lower half-shells that will form the 728JET's passenger cabin.

Critical design reviews for the 728JET development programme have been completed and risk-sharing partners are finishing their design work. Final assembly of the first aircraft will begin in 2001.Customers to date for the 70-seater jet are General Electric Capital Aircraft Leasing (GECAS), which has 50 firm orders and 100 options, and Lufthansa, which has 60 firm orders and 60 options.

Source: Flight Daily News