Bankruptcy Closes Fokker -- 5,664 Employees Lose Jobs At Venerable Aircraft Maker

AMSTERDAM - Fokker NV said the jet maker's main units filed for bankruptcy, effectively closing the Netherlands' 77-year-old aviation industry.

The bankruptcy will result in the loss of 5,664 jobs, the biggest firing in Dutch history, from a total work force of 7,900. Some workers will be rehired by surviving Fokker units.

"With this bankruptcy, the . . . aircraft industry in the Netherlands has come to an end," Fokker Chairman Ben van Schaik said today.

The demise of Fokker, which followed its failure to win bids for all or part of the company from Samsung Aerospace Industries Corp. of South Korea or Aviation Industries of China, may be welcomed elsewhere. It cut capacity in an industry that long has suffered from a glut of manufacturers: almost a dozen other companies build 50- to 100-seat planes.

"There was a lot of interest in Fokker," Dutch Economics Minister Hans Wijers said. "But in the end parties thought the risks were too large."

Some of Fokker's businesses, those with the best chance to make money, will be bundled under a new company, Fokker Aviation BV. The new company will no longer make aircraft, but will encompass its aircraft-support business for a worldwide fleet of 1,130 jets, space and systems division and other units. Some of the fired employees will be rehired.

Fokker's suppliers will be hurt. Belfast, Northern Ireland-based Short Brothers Plc, which makes wings for the Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 models, said it may fire as many as 1,000 employees because of lost work.

Fokker still has about 70 planes on its order book, about 15 of which it expects to deliver, said Arnold Leuftink, a company official. He said unfulfilled orders could result in claims against the company. Information from Bloomberg Business News and The Associated Press is included in this report.