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Bombardier Signals Interest in Fairchild Dornier

The Canadian aerospace and rail-technology group provided a ray of hope for U.S.-German aircraft maker Fairchild Dornier when it indicated that it might be interested in investing in the insolvent company after all.

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The assembly lines might be rolling again

Canadian aerospace and rail-technology group Bombardier Inc. on Monday provided a ray of hope for insolvent U.S.-German aircraft maker Fairchild Dornier when it indicated that it might be interested in investing in the insolvent company after all.

"We are watching the situation at Fairchild Dornier with great interest – just like other competitors," said John Paul McDonald, head of communications at Bombardier Aerospace, at the International Aerospace Fair in Berlin.

Industry experts described his comments as a clear strategy U-turn for the world's largest regional jet maker. Up to now, Bombardier has categorically denied any interest in Fairchild Dornier.

"The situation has changed, that's all we can say at this point in time. We don't participate in speculation," McDonald added.

Decision within days

People close to Fairchild Dornier said that a decision on the future of Germany's last remaining regional aircraft maker will be taken before the end of this week. Time is running out because the company risks losing its most important engineers as long as the uncertainty continues.

Fairchild Dornier's operations are secured only until the end of June after the company received backing totaling 90 million euros from a consortium of banks. Without winning a major investor, its plan to launch a new 70-seater regional jet – widely regarded in the industry to be technically superior to rival aircraft – looks doomed to fail.

So far, world leader Boeing Corp. has been touted as the most likely buyer for Fairchild Dornier. But chairman Phil Condit, who is known to be in favor of a takeover, has faced opposition from vice chairman Harry Stonecipher, who said that there was no money in regional aircraft construction.

As a result the U.S. group had decided against an investment in Fairchild Dornier, Stonecipher said.

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