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New Life For The 328 Program?

Thu Mar 27, 2003 6:51 am

Honestly, will this work?

U.S. Entrepreneur With Record of Growing Distressed Firms Acquires German Airliner Program
Wednesday March 26, 4:08 pm ET

OBERPFAFFENHOFEN, Germany, March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. entrepreneur Ben Bartel has acquired the rights and facilities to produce the 32-seat, German- built Fairchild Dornier 328JET and 328 turboprop in expectations of an upturn in the market for regional airliners and business jets.
(Photo: )
Bartel's company, AvCraft Aviation, an aircraft maintenance firm headquartered in Leesburg, Virginia, purchased aircraft manufacturing and support facilities in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany from bankrupt Fairchild Dornier. Terms of the financial transaction were not disclosed. AvCraft will use its own facilities in Akron, Ohio as a U.S. support base for the aircraft. Both entities will henceforth operate under the Fairchild Dornier name.

"While the airliner market is currently in a slump, regional jets are likely to be the first segment to pick up," Bartel noted. "The 328 has proven to be a workhorse and money maker for regional airlines, as well as a dependable and economical business aircraft." More than 180 of the aircraft are currently in service with affiliates of Delta Airlines, U.S. Air and other airlines around the world. The 328JET is priced at $11.5 million in standard airline configuration and $14.5 million for the Envoy 3 corporate configuration of the aircraft.

Bartel further stated: "Fairchild Dornier's financial problems stemmed not from the 328, but from investments in larger aircraft -- its proposed 728 and 928 regional jets -- at a time of declining demand."

In 1992, Bartel left a career in banking to form Kabelmedia Holding GmbH, a German cable TV company. Through multiple acquisitions and aggressive infrastructure build out, Kabelmedia grew from 4,000 subscribers to more than 450,000, making it the fifth largest cable company in Germany. In 1999, Kabelmedia merged with Suweda AG, the fourth largest German cable operator, to form PrimaCom AG. That company had a successful initial public offering in 1999 and is today the second largest cable company in Germany behind Deutsche Telekom. Bartel exited the new company at the time of the IPO.

An active pilot for more than 20 years, Bartel then turned his attention to developing a portfolio of aviation businesses built on the premise of improved customer service. Bartel, 42, is an airline transport rated pilot.

Bartel expects the new Fairchild Dornier company to begin delivery of aircraft currently in inventory within the next 60 days, and to resume full- scale production over the course of the next 12 months. The company acquired 18 finished aircraft as part of the transaction, plus five additional aircraft in various stages of final assembly. The company expects to produce 30 to 50 aircraft per year in Oberpfaffenhofen, an hour's drive from Munich, by 2005.

Fairchild Dornier will retain its headquarters in Oberpfaffenhofen, with a worldwide sales and marketing office in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Free-thinking, left-leaning secularist
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RE: New Life For The 328 Program?

Thu Mar 27, 2003 7:47 am

WOW, this is kinda exciting.

I really think there is a market for a 30 seat 328jet and the 328 prop wasnt bad itself.
Posts: 577
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2001 2:32 am

RE: New Life For The 328 Program?

Thu Mar 27, 2003 9:05 am

That is excellent. I love the 328. It is the BEST regional airliner in the world. I have never ridden on a better aircraft. It stands to reason that someone would want such an excellent line.
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RE: New Life For The 328 Program?

Thu Mar 27, 2003 9:07 am

...but nothing was said about the 728 program. So I'm taking it for granted that the 728 is stillborn now, and will never be restarted? It's a shame, because IMO, the 728 is/was a fine aircraft whose only crime was being developed in very unflattering times in the aerospace industry. Hopefully, the 728 can salvaged, but it's highly unlikely now. On the plus side, it's good to know that the CRJ & ERJ will have some competition now. Regards.
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
Posts: 577
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2001 2:32 am

RE: New Life For The 328 Program?

Thu Mar 27, 2003 9:12 am

The 728 looked very promising too, but Embraer had a lot of loyal customers for their similar (I think it was copied from the 728) ERJ-170 that would not have switched to FD.
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Joined: Mon Aug 23, 1999 5:35 am

RE: New Life For The 328 Program?

Thu Mar 27, 2003 9:53 pm

Rumour is that Aero-Dienst, Germany, has signed an order for 3 328JET/Envoy 3. Not yet confirmed as far as I know. In addition it seems likely that the 428JET will be revived in the not too distant future.


[Edited 2003-03-27 14:15:59]
Flown: A319/320/321,A332/3,A343/346, A380,AT4,AT7,B732/3/4/5/7/8/9,B742/4,B762/763,B772/77W,CR2/7/9/K,ER3/4,E70/75/90/95, F50/70/100,M11,L15,SF3,S20, AR8/1, 142/143,...

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