Friday, 25 April 2014

Insider: Planned sale of Czech L-159 aircraft to Iraq fails

25 February 2013

Prague, Feb 22 (CTK) - The planned sale of the Czech military L-159 planes to Iraq, which the Defence Ministry announced last year, has failed, the Insider daily writes Friday.

The contract with Iraq has not been signed yet and both sides are trying to negotiate it anew, Insider adds.

The planes' producer, Aero Vodochody, has allegedly limited the preparation for the production of 24 new planes to the minimum.

"The previously signed contract has not taken effect yet," Aero Vodochody head Ladislav Simek told Insider.

Yet according to previous information, the contract should have been signed within a couple of weeks.

Simek added that a new contract might be expected.

Alexandr Vondra, who headed the Defence Ministry when the contract was announced, said he is convinced that patience is needed in this case.

"My experience from talks with Arab countries shows one thing: you need patience, patience and patience again. They have a different notion of time than we in Europe," Vondra told Insider.

The Czech Republic and Iraq have been negotiating about the sale of L-159s for several years. The order was to be worth some 19.2 billion crowns.

The Czech Republic expected the supply to considerably support the aviation industry and create over 700 jobs.

However, Aero has not launched the production of the L-159 planes for Iraq yet.

"Nevertheless, some preparatory steps have been taken to enable to kick off the production again both in Aero and at some suppliers," Simek said.

He added that some commercial and technical details, mainly the aircraft's arms equipment, are being negotiated.

Speculations emerged saying that not only Iraq but also Aero is behind the lukewarm approach to the business deal since the order might be too demanding for it and a new production line would have to be built, Insider writes.

($1=19.344 crowns)

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