Canadian regional carrier Porter Airlines has settled quite comfortably into the niche it began carving for itself two years ago, when CEO Robert Deluce finally realized his dream of reopening Toronto City Centre Airport to scheduled airline traffic. Today, Deluce oversees a fleet of eight Bombardier Q400 turboprops flying to seven destinations within a 500-nm radius of the island airport.
Bombardier Dash 8
Bombardier in late November logged a firm order for eight Q400 turboprops from Ethiopian Airlines and issued options on another four. The contract, worth $242 million at list prices, calls for first delivery some time between August and October 2010. Ethiopian Airlines CEO Girma Wake said he planned to deploy the airplanes from Addis Ababa on both domestic and regional routes of up to 1,000 nm.
Future fuel prices will determine the markets for regional turboprop and jet aircraft, according to Saab Aircraft Leasing president and chief executive Michael Magnusson. The Swedish manufacturer maintains a sizeable fleet of its Saab 340 and 2000 regional turboprop designs for lease and expects to benefit from industry moves to reduce costs by making greater use of such equipment rather than regional jets.
Bombardier canceled the midnight and morning shifts at its Downsview, Ontario factory today to clean up debris from an explosion at a nearby north Toronto propane factory yesterday morning.
Swedish cargo operator Nord-Flyg has launched a Q400 PF (Package Freighter) program with Canada’s Cascade Aerospace using two of the Bombardier turboprops previously owned by SAS. Abbotsford, British Columbia-based Cascade also signed a letter of intent to convert another three Q400s for Nord-Flyg. The Swedish airline plans to use the airplanes for overnight package delivery in Europe, according to Bombardier.
Horizon Air will ground all 12 of its remaining Bombardier Q200 turboprops by October 28 and begin retiring its CRJ700 regional jets next month under a plan to accelerate its transition to a uniform fleet of Q400 turboprops. Horizon now expects to remove all its 70-seat CRJ700s and add 14 more 76-seat Q400s by the end of next year in an effort to ease the sting of soaring fuel prices.
French-Italian regional turboprop manufacturer Avions de Transport Régional (ATR) is considering a new aircraft to complement its 46/50 passenger ATR 42 and 68/74-seat ATR 72 regional turboprop aircraft. CEO Stéphane Mayer confirmed that the airframer is studying a larger turboprop, probably to seat between 90 and 100 seats, and options including a two- or three-member family. “A stretch [of today’s ATR 72] is not a solution,” he said.
Bombardier expressed “regrets” about a March 13, 2007, accident involving a Q400 turboprop at Japan’s Kochi Airport after the Japanese Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission (JARAIC) in late May found that a missing bolt caused the airplane’s nose landing gear door to jam, forcing a gear-up landing. None of the 60 passengers and crew aboard the ANA/Air Central flight sustained injuries in the accident.
“A strong market for strong products” is driving growth at Bombardier Aerospace, according to president and chief executive officer Pierre Beaudoin. The Canadian group is increasing its 27,000-strong workforce even as it faces the challenge of achieving earnings growth targets subject to currency exchange fluctuations that have led it to outsource more work to lower-cost partners.
The DOT has awarded Hawaii’s Island Air the rights to fly three EAS routes from Kansas City International Airport now served by Mesa Air Group subsidiary Air Midwest. The Mesa-owned Beech 1900 operator filed a 90-day notice to withdraw from Joplin, Mo.; Grand Island, Neb.; and Harrison, Ark., on January 22, but EAS rules require it to stay until a replacement airline begins service.