Sat, 27 Aug 1994

Oregon bids to host RI aircraft plant

JAKARTA (JP): Oregon is joining the competition with other American states for the right to host the plant that will produce the Indonesian designed N-250 aircraft.

Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts yesterday met with B.J. Habibie, the State Minister of Research and Technology and president of the state-owned aircraft manufacturer IPTN, to discuss the possibility of hosting the N-250 production plant.

"I was in the IPTN's manufacturing factory and research operation in Bandung yesterday," Roberts told reporters after the meeting with Habibie's office in Jakarta. "We are truly moving to world-class competition. We are here in a wonderful country to get an opportunity to jointly produce the world-class aircraft."

She is not the first however. Before her, the governors or representatives of Arkansas, Alabama, Utah, Arizona and Kansas also visited Indonesia separately to express similar interest.

Habibie said he has also received queries from a number of European countries, including Britain and France, but that IPTN is looking at the United States.

The N-250 is a wholly Indonesian designed turboprop commuter aircraft with a capacity of 70 passengers.

A prototype is already prepared at IPTN's plant in Bandung which will be formally shown in November to coincide with the gathering of the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum which will also include U.S. President Bill Clinton.

IPTN sources said the company is expected to announce the winner of the right to host the N-250 plant before December.

Part of the plane will be produced here but the assembly will take place at the U.S. plant.

Financing the N-250 project is not without its share of controversy however.

Seven non-governmental organizations this week filed a petition with the Jakarta State Administrative Court seeking to repeal a presidential decree which allocates some Rp 400 billion ($190 million) of reforestation fund towards the N-250 project. (rms)