Could The Dornier 328 Open The Door To Zero Emission Flight?

A German aircraft builder has announced plans to develop a sub-50-seat regional commuter aircraft it says points the way towards zero-emission flights. Deutsche Aircraft wants to rollout the D328eco by 2025. They say the plane will pave the way to zero-emission flight within the next 15 years.

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Deutsche Aircraft yesterday announced the rollout of the D328eco aircraft in 2025. Photo: Deutsche Aircraft

“The D328eco program will achieve the goal of providing easy access to affordable, energy-efficient, and cost-effective, environmentally friendly aircraft. Generating minimal environmental impact along the way, the D328eco will stimulate sustainable economic and social growth,” says Thomas Jarzombek, Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy.

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The D328eco to be based on the Dornier D328 platform

Deutsche Aircraft is based at the Oberpfaffenhofen Airport outside Munich. It’s there they plan to build the D328eco. According to the company, the D328eco will accommodate 43 passengers and consume just 2.6 liters of fuel per passenger per 100 kilometers. The turboprop will scoot along at 600 kilometers per hour up to an altitude of 30,000 feet and will land and takeoff on just 1000 meters of runway.

“It (the D328eco) is ideally positioned to explore new and under-served routes, as well as accessing remote locations without the need of sophisticated infrastructure,” says the company.

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A rendering of the D328eco. Photo: Deutsche Aircraft

The D328eco is based on the well-known Dornier 328. The plane was produced at Oberpfaffenhofen between 1991 and 2000. Over 200 were produced and flew for a variety of passenger, freight, and military operators.

The company’s then-owner, Fairchild Dornier, went into bankruptcy in 2002. In 2006, Support Services GmbH acquired the type certificate for the Dornier 328. In turn, the certificate type was purchased by Sierra Nevada Corporation in 2015.  Sierra Nevada Corporation remains the owners but later rebooted the business as Deutsche Aircraft. On Monday, they announced their first plane, the D328eco.

The company wants to tap into two key trends in the aviation industry. Firstly, they see the emerging trend towards rightsizing fleets and aircraft type.

“Traditional large-scale hub and spoke operations will be restructured as the demand for short-haul, point-to-point, low-emission transport grows.

“Airlines will resize their fleets to accommodate smaller, more efficient, and more eco-friendly aircraft, and seek to open underserved routes with direct services through “right-sizing” operations,” says Thomas Jarzombek.

That’s a view shared by other manufacturers of regional aircraft, such as Embraer.

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Source: Deutsche Aircraft

Secondly, when it comes to modern green aircraft, Deutsche Aircraft wants to be at the forefront of the pack. A 2019 KPMG Report suggests over three-quarters of global CEOs, including airline CEOs, say their organization’s future depends on its ability to shift to a low carbon, clean technology operating environment.

According to Deutsche Aircraft, the D328 is the only existing aircraft platform that will meet efficiency and performance requirements for modern and more sustainable planes. Deutsche Aircraft says the D328 platform will pave the way to zero-emission flight within the next 15 years. That’s faster than any other aircraft manufacturer and beats any international guidelines on green flights.

“The D328eco will equal the outstanding field performance of its ancestor,” says Deutsche Aircraft.

“The D328eco will change the way we fly and help reduce our carbon footprint.”

With co-operation, participation, and funding from the German Government, Deutsche Aircraft says its new plane will lead the way in clean aviation and drive aviation’s future towards a zero-emission flight objective.

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