EADS Proposes Faster, Longer-range Aircraft
EADS Socata chairman and CEO Jean-Michel Léonard told AIN that the France-based manufacturer is evaluating production of a new turboprop or business jet that is bigger than the company’s TBM 850 turboprop single. “We have the capability, market expertise and credibility to produce a faster and longer-range aircraft,” he said, adding that the new airplane would offer two more seats than the six-seat TBM 850. “We also intend to enter [the] small corporate and taxi-based market that today is limited for Socata,” he noted. The company is seeking financial and/or industrial partnerships for the $370 million (€250 million) project, and a final decision on the new aircraft is expected early next year. Meanwhile, Socata delivered the first two 2008 TBM 850s with Garmin G1000 avionics and other upgrades on Thursday in Orlando, Fla.–the first one to John LaBonte, the CEO of Big Bike Parts, a Rice Lake, Wis.-based designer and distributor of touring motorcycle accessories.