Minister for State Enterprises Mustafa Abubakar has encouraged PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines (Merpati) to cooperate in operating N-219 aircraft built by state-owned plane builder PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI). "While still too early, cooperation between Merpati and PT DI will become a most favorable mutually beneficial synergy. They will soon sign a contract for the production of 20 N-219s by PT DI for Merpati," Minister Mustafa Abubakar said after a hearing of Commission VI of the House of Representatives in Jakarta on Monday. Mustafa said the synergy is a necessary step so that the restructuring of the two companies would reach maximum results. On the occasion the government along with the House commission VI agreed to inject funds in the form of state capital participation amounting to Rp 516 billion for Merpati, while PTDI had been proposed to get Rp2 trillion from the 2012 state budget. President director of Merpati Sardjono Jhony Tjitrokusumo said he was in need of 20 new planes for expansion of flight routes. "It was planned that Merpati will have 20 planes each with 20 seats. We notice that PT DI has the capacity to meet our demands in 2014 and 2015," he said. He said the price of an N-219 will reach 4 million US dollars, so that some 80 million US dollars would be needed for 20 units. "We will seek the funds, but besides the Rp516 billion that we will receive," he said. Earlier, Head of Structure Design of PT Dirgantara Indonesa Budi Sampurno said that the N-219 will be flying in 2014. PT DI said it will soon build the planes and start the certification process in 2013. Budi also said that for the first sales in 2014 the new planes will be marketed locally, 97 civil planes and 57 military aircraft. Source: Antara News
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