Signaling an apparent decision to abandon any immediate plans for a new large turboprop, Bombardier has found a way to squeeze another six seats into its Q400 by offering an option to convert the airplane’s forward baggage door into a passenger exit. The new interior design would replace cargo capacity with as much as another row and a half of passenger seats, raising the Q400’s total seating capacity to 86.
“We have various options where we can play with galley and wardrobe configurations,” explained Bombardier Commercial Aircraft marketing vice president Philippe Poutissou. “So we’re turning the existing airframe’s baggage door into a passenger exit on the right-hand side of the aircraft.”
Still, to gain enough room for the 86 seats, designers needed to limit seat pitch to 29 inches. “If you look at the layout configurations, we can also do a comfortable 82-seat configuration with a 30-inch seat pitch,” said Poutissou.
Thai low-fare carrier Nok Air has agreed to serve as the launch customer for the new option with a firm order placed at November’s Dubai Airshow for a pair of Q400s along with an option for another two. It also reserved purchase rights on four more airplanes.
Now flying a pair of ATR 72-500s, Nok Air plans to replace its Franco-Italian turboprops with the larger Q400s.