Turkish jet project confined to history as owners choose Germany

The U.S.-based Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), owned by Turkish married couple Fatih and Eren Özmen, has shelved plans to manufacture airplanes in Turkey and announced it will instead start production in Germany, Turkish newspaper Dünya reported on Wednesday.

Turkish authorities started talks with SNC in 2015 on a project to manufacture passenger planes in Turkey after the company acquired the intellectual property rights for the design, manufacture, maintenance and certification of the Dornier 328 aircraft.

The company had signed a protocol with Turkey’s Undersecretariat of Defence Industry and announced that D328s would be updated as turboprop and jet aircraft and manufactured in Turkey as TR 328.

But, due to differences in opinion with Turkish authorities over the share of domestic production to be used for the aircraft, SNC shelved the project in 2017, without officially terminating it. 

After a long silence, SNC announced on Wednesday that Germany had agreed to support the project and a new factory had been established in Leipzig.

Meanwhile Turkey’s Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said on Wednesday that Aquila Aviation, a company founded by Turkish investors in Germany, would set up a plane manufacturing facility in Turkey.

"We will move a part of Aquila Aviation's production to Turkey and will be manufacturing airplanes under our own brand," Anadolu Agency quoted Varank as saying in Germany.