Talks may yet save ailing Fokker

Fokker's chances of survival improved last night after several companies, including British Aerospace and Bombardier, said they were talking to the ailing Dutch aircraft maker, writes Russell Hotten. Bombardier, the Canadian company that owns Shorts Brothers in Belfast, said it was "just exploring" the situation with Fokker. BAe's interest is via the AIR regional jet partnership it formed with France's Aerospatiale and Italy's Alenia.

AIR has always said it wanted to broaden the alliance, though a BAe spokesman said its contact with Fokker could not really be described as negotiations. "We are just keep up with the situation," he said. "It has been done through AIR. It is entirely exploratory." South Korea's Samsung also said it was talking to Fokker, and the Taiwanese government is believed to be interested in all or part of the company.