Fokker fades away from the skies of Europe

Zagreb, Croatia - The Fokker 100 is continuing to slowly disappear from the European airspace. Croatian carrier Trade Air replaces its two Fokker 100 aircraft with two Airbus A320 jets.

Zagreb-based charter operator conducts charter flights with its Fokker 100s and is now decommissioning two of the three aircraft in the fleet. The operator will replace its Fokkers with two second-hand Airbus A320, which can carry more passengers.

In recent years, many European carriers retired their Fokker 70s and Fokker 100s. After KLM's regional subsidiary KLM Cityhopper retired its last Fokker 70s in 2017, TUS Airways now remains as the only European operator of the type.

The Fokker 100 also disappears from view. Helvetic Airways and Montenegro Airlines have recently announced that they would cease operations with the Fokker 100s. Now Trade Air is joining the club.

Flywings Aviation, a Georgian start-up, has acquired one of the Trade Air's Fokker 100s.Flywings does not yet have an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC).

9A-BTD (msn 11407), the 27.4-year-aircraft , operated its last commercial flight for the Croatian charter specialist on September 19 from Warsaw Chopin to Zagreb.

Romanian Carpatair, the German Avanti Air, the Cypriot TUS Airways and the Bulgarian ALK Airlines are the remaining Fokker 100 operators in Europe. There are also some public service planes in Slovakia and France.

TUS Air Fokker 70

Australia and Iran are two countries to operate Fokkers in large amounts. The aircraft is popular among the charter operators in Australia that are carrying mine and petrol workers to the rural areas of the country.

Iran is another safe heaven for Fokker since the Iranian airline operators are not able to add new planes to their fleets from western manufacturers due to the US sanctions.

A Brief History of Fokker

Fokker was a Dutch planemaker named after its founder Anthony Fokker. The company was launched in 1912 in Schwerin, Germany, and then moved to the Netherlands in 1919.

After the Second World War, new factory was built next to Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam. A number of military planes were built there under lisense. Gloster Meteor twin-jet fighter and Lockheed's F-104 Starfighter are among them.

In 1958, the manufacturer returned to the commercial aircraft business. The F-27 Friendship, a turboprop airliner was introduced. The Dutch government contributed 27 million guilders to its development. Powered by the Rolls-Royce Dart, it became the world's best-selling turboprop airliner, reaching almost 800 copies sold by 1986.

Fokker 27

In 1962, the F-27 was followed by the jet-powered F-28 Fellowship. Until production stopped in 1987, a total of 241 were built in various versions.

Fokker 28

In 1981, Fokker began an ambitious program to develop two new planes, the Fokker 50, a completely modernized version of the F-27, and the Fokker 100 a new aircraft based on the F-28.

Fokker 50

In 1987, the development costs went out of control and forced Fokker to look for investors for the program. The Dutch government bailed the company out with 212 million guilders.

Initial sales of the Fokker 100 were good and the company decided to develop a smaller variant Fokker 70. But sales of the Fokker 70 were below expectations and the Fokker 100 was in trouble due to the strong competition from Boeing and Airbus.

Fokker went bankrupt in 1996, and its profitable operations such as the maintenance and repair work were sold to competitors.

Fokker 100