Aviation master Habibie
ready to fly high again

B.J. Habibie  (JP/R.Berto Wedhatama)
B.J. Habibie (JP/R.Berto Wedhatama)

Indonesia’s third president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, who is also known as the country’s most prominent aviation expert, has said that he is ready to get back into aviation development with the first locally made passenger aircraft the N-250.

Habibie said on Friday that his main target was to get a United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) license for the N-250 within two years.

Habibie said that he would form PT Regio Aviasi Industry, a joint venture with PT Ilhabi Rekatama, belonging to his son Ilham Akbar Habibie, and PT Eagle Capital belonging to former president director of the Indonesian Stock Exchange Erry Firmansyah.

“PT Ilhabi Rekatama will be the main shareholder. I will be the president commissioner,” Habibie said on the sidelines of the commemoration of National Technology Day at Gedung Sate in Bandung, West Java.

According to Habibie, the two companies will sign an agreement to form PT Regio Aviasi Industri on Saturday.

Habibie led the state-owned aircraft manufacturer IPTN, which is now called PT Dirgantara Indonesia, in 1974 and was the leading actor behind the creation of Indonesia’s aerospace technology.

The nation’s pride the N-250 was first produced in 1995 but was not developed in the years ahead due to the economic crisis. The aircraft was a larger version of the CN-235 commuter aircraft, which was produced in 1983.

While the CN-235 was designed and developed by IPTN in cooperation with Spain’s Construcciones Aviacion SA (CASA), Habibie claimed that the N-250 was 100 percent engineered by Indonesian experts.

IPTN was close to getting the plane certified airworthy by US and European regulators but the 1997 financial crisis prevented its development. (lfr)

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