Analyst sees uptick in regional sales
Although deliveries of smaller regional jets have dropped dramatically in the past few years, Forecast International expects growing numbers of jets to be delivered from 2010 through 2019. In its recent study, “The Market for Regional Transport Aircraft,” Newtown, Conn.-based Forecast International projects production of 4,016 regional turboprops and jets valued at $123 billion during the coming decade. Jets should account for about 64 percent of that total, the firm said.
The 2008-2009 downturn was particularly hard for regional airlines, according to the study. “A recovery is now under way, but could easily stall should the general economy remain sluggish or drop back into recession.”
Major airlines with regional airline feeder networks “are looking to significantly redefine their relationship to the regional airlines,” the study noted. “The majors want to alter, or even scrap altogether, the fixed-fee-per-departure arrangements that have traditionally defined the major/regional partnership. Increasingly, regionals are being asked to assume much of the risk, and much of the cost, of feeder operations.”
While ATR, Bombardier and Embraer will remain dominant in regional airliner production, new models are entering in the larger-size category and will be competing against narrowbody airliners like the Airbus A319 and Boeing 737.
Bombardier’s C Series spans seating ranges from 100 to 145 and Embraer’s E-Jets range from 75 to 125 seats. A re-engining program for the E-Jets could mean that Embraer competes in the 125-plus seating category.
Other regional jet programs are coming and will add to the competition among RJ manufacturers and offer more choices to airlines.