The German aircraft will be modernised and final assembly will take place in Leipzig. The manufacturer promises more capacity, quieter propellers and less CO2 emissions.
As part of a conference at Leipzig/Halle airport, Deputy Prime Minister of Saxony Martin Dulig, CEO of Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG Götz Ahmelmann and Production Manager of 328 Support Services Gmbh (328SSG) Nico Neumann jointly announced the “launch of a project for a new aircraft manufacturer in Germany“.
The final assembly line for the short-haul aircraft “D328Neu” is to be developed at Leipzig/Halle Airport. The new aircraft will be a further development of the Dornier 328-100 turboprop, which was built from 1992 to 2005 by Fairchild Dornier GmbH in Oberpfaffenhofen (Bavaria).
250 new jobs are to be created in Leipzig with an investment of 80 million euros. There is currently no manufacturer of regional passenger aircraft in the 30-seat range on the market. Therefore, 328SSG wants to develop the D328Neu at its headquarters in the Bavarian city of Oberpfaffenhofen, where it has already the type approval of the Dornier 328 with spare parts. The development of the prototype, its production and the associated flight tests will create a further 120 jobs. The worldwide support for the D328 fleet will also be based in Oberpfaffenhofen as before.
The official project start is planned in the first quarter of 2020. The first “entry to service” of a D328Neu will take place in 2024.
The German Federal Government will provide a loan of 125 million euros for the development of the D328Neu.
The new version of the Dornier 328 will feature a number of changes from the original design. The aircraft is to receive new, up-to-date avionics. In addition, the hull is to be stretched to provide space for up to 39 passengers. A new engine with a new propeller will ensure maximum efficiency, lower noise levels and a range of around 1000 nautical miles (1850 km).
With little effort, the aircraft could be converted to a hybrid drive in the future. However, the new version will initially run as a turboprop. There are no plans to equip the aircraft with jet engines like the current Do-328-300.
Until 2005 a total of 217 pieces of the Dornier 328 were produced, both in the turboprop and the jet version. The aircraft is known for its ruggedness, good performance and short-start capabilities. A launch customer for the resumption of production must still be found.