The Fokker 70 is a narrow-body, twin-engined, medium-range, turbofan regional airliner,a smaller version of the Fokker 100. The aircraft is capable of transporting up to 79 passengers.
History and Features
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 4 April 1993, at the company’s base at Woensdrecht in southern Netherlands, and had a duration of three hours. Following its first flight, the Fokker 70 was flown to Granada and Spain, where many hours were logged in order to obtain the certification at the end of 1994. The first production aircraft first flew in July 1994. Certification was granted on 14 October 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 launch customer of this aircraft by an airline was the now-defunct Indonesian airline, Sempati Air.
The development of the Fokker 70 was based on the requirements of some airlines, for which the Fokker 50 or ATR 42 were too small and the Boeing 737 or MD-80 too large.
The development consisted in cutting various sections of the fuselage of the Fokker 100, removing 4.62 metres (15.2 ft) of the plane’s total length but keeping the wings and tail. With these specifications, total capacity is 80 passengers, 70 in the U.S., due more to meet “scope clause” requirements than any Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification.
The Fokker 70 is powered by two Rolls-Royce Tay 620 turbofans placed at the back of the fuselage, with 61.6 kN (13,849 lb) of thrust. The weight varies from 22,673 kilograms (49,985 lb) when empty to 41,730 kilograms (92,000 lb) at maximum takeoff weight (MTOW). An airbrake on the 70’s tail section – similar to that found on the BAe 146 – allows it to conform with the 5.5° glide slope at London City Airport. Its avionics suite is similar to the Fokker 100.
Most Fokker 70 aircraft were delivered for service in Europe, but in 1995 two aircraft were delivered to Mesa Air subsidiary Desert Sun Airlines and were operated as America West Express flights as part of an effort to try to introduce the Fokker 70 to the United States; the purchase agreement allowed the operator to return the aircraft within 12 to 18 months. Although the earlier Fokker 100 did moderately well in the United States with orders from American Airlines and USAir (which subsequently merged with American Airlines), only two aircraft of the Fokker 70 variant were delivered for service in the United States. Fokker’s March 1996 bankruptcy ended any hopes of further production for the U.S. market; the two America West Express aircraft operated by a subsidiary of Mesa Airlines became an expensive subfleet and were sent to Europe in 1997, ending the very short tenure of Fokker 70 operation in the United States.
The last Fokker 70 was delivered in April 1997, when the production line closed following Fokker’s bankruptcy the previous year. Over the 70’s short production life, 47 were built. 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.
Aircraft of similar role, configuration and era are: Antonov An-148, BAe 146, Bombardier CRJ700/900, Embraer E-170/175, Fairchild Dornier 728 family.