Indonesia’s economic development strategy for the past 20 years will face a critical test with the rollout of the N250 aircraft which is to be manufactured in the United States, possibly in Macon, Ga., said Mark Towery, president of the Atlanta-based Global Advantage Corp.
Speaking at a conference concerning political, social and economic prospects in Indonesia held at The Ritz-Carlton (downtown) Friday, march 17, Mr. Towery said that the mid-sized commercial carrier has been the centerpiece since the mid-1970s of a development strategy conceived by B.J. Habibie, the minister of state for research and technology.
At that time, Indonesia’s domestic aircraft industry was chosen as one of nine key technologies for the country’s economic transformation so it could break out from its dependency on low wage sectors. The strategy has been criticized for not providing enough jobs, even though Indonesia’s economy has experienced 6% annual growth for the past 25 years.
Dr. Habibie also is president and CEO of IPTN, the Indonesian company that has developed the N250 model, which was formally launched in June 1991.
Macon and Mobile, Ala, currently are vying to provide a manufacturing sit e for the plane. A decision is expected by the end of April.
“Dr. Habibie has spent a lot of money over the past 20 years,” Mr. Towery said. “Now is the time for his vision to pay off. This will be the first test of his philosophy in the world marketplace.”
A major part of the N250 marketing plan is the establishment of a presence in the U.S. because no other company is manufacturing a plane in the same mid-size classification. GENERAL ELECTRIC is expected to take at least a 10% stake in the venture, along with other international investors.
Selection of a U.S. plant site underscores the emphasis that Dr. Habibie has placed on developing an international market for high-tech Indonesian products, s aid Mr. Towery.
Mr. Towery may be reached by calling (404) 458-4848; fax, (404) 458-5757.