The tale of the 728JET: Fairchild Dornier’s big bet

Twenty years ago, Fairchild Dornier unveiled the 728JET – the first of four airliners in an innovative regional jet family that could have extinguished Embraer’s E-Jet hopes and killed off the C Series. It never happened, as Andreas Spaeth explains

728JET
Rolando Ugolini

The day was March 21, 2002, and the location Oberpfaffenhofen, a small airfield just south of Munich, Germany. The site had long been home to civil aircraft manufacturer Dornier Luftfahrt, an offshoot of the famous company that once built the legendary Do-X flying boat. Since 1988, the airframer had been run as a subsidiary of German car maker group Daimler Benz – which had also acquired Dutch aerospace company Fokker – and aimed to merge them into a European regional aircraft powerhouse. This failed, leading to Fokker’s collapse, and the car manufacturer lost interest.

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