Deutsche Aircraft to create Dornier 328 successor

Computer rendering of a D328eco. Image: © Deutsche Aircraft

New German aircraft manufacturer ‘Deutsche Aircraft’ has announced details on its plan to build a successor to the German-made Dornier 328 propeller airplane.

Deutsche Aircraft wants to stretch the original Do-328 by almost two meters to fit up to 43 passengers (40 in a ‘standard’ configuration). On Monday, December 7th, the name was unveiled to be ‘D328eco’. It will use two Pratt and Whitney Canada PW127S engines and have a cruise speed of 600 kilometers an hour (373 mph), similar to its predecessor. The new plane requires only 1000 meters (3281 ft) of runway for take off and landing, and will be able to operate on unpaved runways.

To manufacture the aircraft type, the company is building an all-new Final Assembly Line (FAL) at Leipzig-Halle Airport (IATA: LEJ) in eastern Germany.

The project has gained support from the German federal government as part of a programme aiming to make flying more efficient and reduce emissions through the development of new technologies.

The federal government has supported the project right from the start and will continue to do so. A few weeks ago, the second tranche of our development cost loan was disbursed. The federal government is also funding the D328 via its ‘LuFo’ aviation research programme in order to turn the zero- carbon vision for aircraft into reality.Thomas Jarzombek, Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy

Deutsche Aircraft says it expects the D328eco to hit the market in 2025. The company predicts that “changing demand” amid the Coronavirus crisis will make airlines restructure their “traditional large-scale hub and spoke operations”, while “demand for short-haul, point-to-point, low-emission transport grows”, therefore raising potential for sub-50 seat aircraft types like the D328eco.

217 of the original Dorner 328 were built from 1991 to 2005 in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. These consist of 107 328-100 turboprop and 110 jet-engine-powered 328-300. Aircraft manufacturer Dornier filed for insolvency in 2002. After that, the type certificate, licence to produce replacement parts and provide maintenance for the Do-328 was taken over by a company called ‘328 Support Services GmbH’ (328SSG), a subsidiary of US-American Sierra Nevada Corporation. 328 Support Services is now becoming Deutsche Aircraft.