Indonesian Aerospace (IAe) is embarking on the development of a 19-seat turboprop, the N219, which could compete with the Viking Twin Otter and China’s Harbin Y-12F.
The N219 is the first indigenous aircraft to be developed in Indonesia since the IPTN N250 50-seat turboprop in the 1990s. The plan is to fly a first prototype of the N219 in 2015, and gain certification with Indonesian authorities in 2016. International certification will follow later.
The program has already generated considerable interest in Indonesia. Low-cost carrier (LCC) Lion Air has signed up for 50, with options for a further 50, to provide feeder services around the country. Nusantara Buana Air (NBA), a small regional carrier in Western Indonesia, has signed an MOU for 20 N219s with options for a further 10.
Market studies for the 19-seater began back in 2006 and the program is now fully backed, with development expected to cost around $80 million. IAe believes the aircraft can serve remote Indonesian destinations inaccessible by roads.
Detailed design is currently underway, with designers looking to improve on the Twin Otter’s performance by increasing the height and the width of the cabin, allowing three-abreast seating with a 32-inch pitch for the 19 seats. The N219 will have a payload of 2,313 kg. (5,000 lb.). IAe has selected Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42 engines and the Garmin 950 avionics suite.
The company is currently building a new hangar and production facilities for the N219 at its Bandung plant. Initial plans are to build 12 a year, later expanding to 24 a year.
Two prototypes of the N250 were built and completed 800 flying hours before funding from the Indonesian government was halted during the Asian economic crisis in 1997. But IAe engineers are using experience from that program to develop the N219.