If you thought Fokker was long gone, you’d be right. It’s been nearly 20 years since the Dutch aircraft manufacturer folded, but now, there’s rumbling about it coming back. We’re still not there, but there was talk last week that the new Fokker 120 may be getting closer to launch. The 120 would be a new version of the Fokker 100, an airplane which you may have flown on American (or Midway) in years past. So, what do you think? Will we see the return of Fokker?
Nope, they won’t. I’ve been following Rekkof (the initial name for the ‘new’ Fokker) since the start, being an avid Fokker-lover (no pun intended). They started in 2003 with their first plans, so it’s been 11 years and still nothing. I read somewhere that a Fokker is about 2 tons lighter than a comparable Embraer, but that’s not enough.
They also need the intellectual property, of which a lot is now owned by Stork. So, that’s a problem. In 2011 the CEO claimed that a prototype would be ready in 2 years. I’m still waiting. Now it’s 2015. By the time they actually finish a plane, the 787 will be long retired…
So, even though I hate to say it, I don’t think we’ll see the new Fokker fly. I’d try to be on the inaugural flight, having flown every type of Fokker made since WWII.
By the way, they also said they’d make a Fokker 90, a 10 ft shorter version of the 120.
I don’t get it – Embraer has the head start, the C-Series is well underway (and not exactly a sales leader), Mitsubishi is gaining some momentum, and if the troubles in/with Russia wrap-up quickly (unlikely) Sukhoi Superjet is getting rave revues from Interjet. Where does the F120 fit in? Seems like good money after bad.
Apart from KLM who would buy it?
The unpleasant reality is the market has pretty consistently failed to support the 100 seat airliner. The majority of all F100’s built were ordered by American and US Airways. Sales of the shrunken 737 (the-600 ) and the the shrunken A320, the A318 have been pretty dismal (although there are some additional reasons for the A318’s problems). The sales of 120 seat airlines have not been so hot either, and there are already two well funded manufacturers in that market, I doubt there is enough demand to make more than one of them profitable, let alone 5 or 6 (The Chinese are very late, but still coming,and the Russians are already delivering the Superjet). The problem is the required technology has made the development of commercial airliners a very expensive proposition. The F120 is an opportunity for some new investors to lose a few hundred million dollars. .
I wish the F120 good luck, but I wouldn’t invest my money in it.
Never experienced flying on a F100, although I took many flights on Horizon Air’s old F28’s during my college days. I guess you can count me in as one of those that hopes the program succeeds, so we something else to plane spot. However, I also think there is too much competition in this segment right now for it to be successful. I believe there will be a bigger market for planes this size moving forward, especially as Airbus and Boeing move further away from it. However, I don’t see there being enough of a market for Fokker, the C-Series, the E-2s, and the other models popping up over the next few years. Something will have to give, and unfortunately, I think it will be the company that is the furthest behind, which is Fokker
The F100 (46000 kg max t/o) is a much lighter-weight option than the 737-600 (66000 kg) or A318 (68000 kg); hence it was a lot more efficient.
However, these days it’s now competing with the CRJ1000, ERJ19x/E2, and the smallest of the CS100. Perhaps the airframe is up to it, and with new PW geared turbofans….
I think the biggest problem with all aircraft in this size range is more to do with scope clauses of airlines. Airlines are going to buy 70-75 seats and outsource them to their (cheaper pilot) regionals; buying something only slightly bigger than your scope clause doesn’t make much sense.
Doesn’t sound like something that would sell very well beyond airlines that still fly old Fokker airplanes and want to upgrade or add bigger planes just to keep them in the ‘family’.
Why would Air France let KLM buy them?
They might be interesting for KL/AF when they could fly some European routes more efficiently than the A319 or 737. It will be a small niche between RJs and shrinks.
My father was a pilot for Empire Airlines in upstate NY and flew the Fokker F-28 under Empire and Piedmont colors and ultimately the F-100 for USAirways. He was a big fan and I’d love to see it happen from a sentimental point of view.
That said, I think having a single model that isn’t part of a ‘family’ of jets with various sizes and a common type-rating and spare parts inventory makes it a tougher sell than it was the first time around unless there’s some dramatic difference on the acquisition or operating cost front compared to other options out there. As was previously mentioned, scope clauses would put this in the mainline fleet with comparatively higher labor costs compared with regional flying.
Coming late to the party doesn’t help matters either although this would compete more with the smaller C-Series with 125 seats than the Mitsubishi in the 70 – 90 seat category.
Reading that brings back memories from my days at Frontier (FAL) 1959-1986.Although we did not have them I did experience it while being a non-rev on other airlines.At my age I say bring them all back and the memories that go with them! GO FOKKER!!
How can you be an Airplane geek and not want more different planes in the sky?
At my local airport in Norway, we get scheduled visits from Embraers, CRJs, and even Airbus 318s and 737-600s. I have flown on Fokker 70s from KLM Cityhopper a few times. Nice aircraft.
Since airframers these days just connect all the puzzle pieces from subcontractors, I could see Fokker surviving.
I could also imagine Airbus might be interested in a piece of the cake, like they do with ATR.
I’d like to see this plane in the sky. I flew the F100 back in the US Air days. (Did the F100 make it to US Airways?)
That being said, I expect Fokker to launch this plane, DL to pick up a bunch of old examples with light cycles, re-equip them with new engines and avionics based on the work Fokker has done, and fly them along side the 717. Whats another type for DL?
The F100 did make it to US Airways…I flew on a US F100 in May 2001 PHL-CMH and then CMH-PIT.
Brings a whole new meaning to “Meet the Fokkers” or “Little Fokkers.”
In Dallas they were refereed to as the “Dutch Oven” due to the inability of its air conditioner to deal with the hot Texas summer.
I thought they were calling themselves Rekkof now.
Can we bring back the BAe 146/Avro RJ instead?
I’ve always like those better, partly because they are a bit larger and more comfortable than other similar aircraft, but mostly just because they look really goofy.
Rekkof has been saying that they’re ‘close to production’ for several years now. I’d like to know who’s bankrolling them.
When I learned to fly, Time air flew F28s into my local airport.
There’s few things more fun to reply to the tower “Yes, I have the Fokker in sight” when asked if you have the other traffic.
I look forward to seeing some Braniff F120s parked at EWR adjacent to KIWI’s soon-to-be delivered fleet of ROMBAC-1-11s.
Of course fokker comes back! fokker is better than embraer.