The Fokker company of the Netherlands started to develop the airliner in November 1992 with an aim to replace its aging Fokker F28 airliner, with a more modern and fuel efficient aircraft. The Fokker 70's first flight occurred on April 4, 1993 in the company's base at Woensdrecht in southern Netherlands and had a duration of three hours. After its first flight, the Fokker 70 was taken to Granada, Spain, where many hours were realized in order to obtain the certification at the end of 1994. The first production aircraft flew for the first time in July 1994. Certification was granted on October 14, 1994, while the first delivery of a Fokker 70 to a customer, Ford Motor Company (in an "Executive Jet" configuration), occurred later in the same month.
The development of the Fokker 70 was based on the need of some airlines for which the Fokker 50 or ATR 42 was too small and Boeing 737 or MD-80 too large for their needs. The development consisted in cutting various sections of the fuselage of the Fokker 100, removing 4.62 m of the plane's total length but keeping wings and tail. With these specifications, total capacity is 79 passengers, 70 in the US due more so to meet "scope clause" requirement than to any FAA certification.
The Fokker 70 has two Rolls-Royce TAY 620 place at the back of the fuselage with 61.6 kN (13,849 lbf) of unitary thrust. The weight varies from 22,673 kg (49,985 lb) in empty weight to 36,965 kg (81,494 lb) at maximum weight at take-off.
Most Fokker 70 aircraft were delivered for service in Europe, but in 1995 two aircraft were delivered to America West Express as part of an effort to try to introduce the Fokker 70 to the United States. Although the earlier Fokker 100 did moderately well in the United States with orders from American Airlines and USAir (now US Airways), only two aircraft were delivered for service in the United States. After Fokker's bankruptcy in 1996 ended any hopes of further production for the United States, the two America West Express aircraft became an expensive subfleet and were sent to Europe in 1997, ending the very short tenure of Fokker 70 operation in the United States.
Although official production of the Fokker 70 is completed, Rekkof ("Fokker" spelt backwards) has, since 1999, tried to negotiate the re-opening of both the Fokker 100 and Fokker 70 lines. Despite these plans, however, Rekkof is still to re-open production of either type.
Of the 47 Fokker 70s built, at May 2007 a total of 39 Fokker 70 aircraft remain in airline service around the world, operating for the following airlines:
(1): Specially designed variant for the regional North American market, with less weight without fuel and at landing.
Specs source: The Fokker 70
Published - July 2009
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