Socata Mulls 2009 Launch of Turbine Twin
EADS Socata this week at EBACE outlined what its next product launch could be next year–a twin-engine business aircraft that is bigger than its TBM 850 turboprop single. “The future product will have two more seats than the [six-seat] TBM,” said Socata CEO Jean-Michel Léonard. According to Léonard, the airframe’s design would benefit from the ongoing Fuscomp demonstration program, which is targeted at producing an all-composite fuselage using liquid-resin infusion. Socata expects to make a launch decision early next year. “Before that, four criteria have to be met,” he said. “First, having a clear idea of the market–we now have it and are happy with the result. Second, we still have to choose between some basic design options–turboprop or turbofan. Third, a sound business plan–we have just completed it. Last, but not least, we must increase our investment capacity.” Regarding funding, French-based Daher is currently debating whether to acquire a majority stake in Socata.