At a ceremony last month marking the delivery of a newly overhauled Dash 8 to Honolulu-based Island Air, ExelTech announced that it secured C$7 million in new contracts this year from five regional airlines from as far afield as French Guyana to perform heavy maintenance at its facilities in Montreal.
Bombardier Dash 8
All Nippon Airways, the Japanese airline that became the launch customer for the new Boeing 7E7 in late April, just days later added a firm order for another four 74-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprops, bringing its commitment total to 12 airplanes. The contract signaled ANA’s third follow-on order for the big turboprops, after it signed for its first batch of four in October 2002.
Frontier Airlines’ new regional subsidiary, Lynx Aviation, will not start service as scheduled on October 1 due to its failure to meet minimum FAA airworthiness standards.
Technical difficulties continued to dog regional airplanes built by a financially resurgent Bombardier last month, as no fewer than 85 Q400 turboprops sat idle while operators performed emergency inspections on their main landing gear.
An Airworthiness Directive issued by Transport Canada yesterday requires a general visual inspection of the left and right main landing gear system and main landing gear retract actuator jam nut on all Bombardier Q400s.
A second incident in three days involving collapsed landing gear on a Scandinavian Airlines Bombardier Q400 has prompted Bombardier to recommend that operators ground any Q400 that has accumulated more than 10,000 landing gear cycles until they complete emergency inspections.
Bombardier continued its deliberate penetration of South and Central America last month with an order from Mexico’s AeroLineas MesoAmericanas (ALMA) for a pair of CRJ900s. Based in Guadalajara, ALMA began operations in June last year and already flies 15 fifty-seat CRJ200s to 25 Mexican destinations. The order came on the heels of a separate deal to deliver four Q400 turboprops to Arik Air of Nigeria.
Mesa Air Group expected three of its Bombardier CRJ200s to enter service with the newly christened KunPeng Airlines by the end of this month. All three airplanes came from Mesa’s U.S. fleet, from which it continues gradually to shed 50-seat jets and de Havilland Dash 8 turboprops in favor of 70- and 86-seat RJs.
Bombardier’s once beleaguered Q400 turboprop continued its steady but certain market penetration in the Far East last month when Japan Air Commuter committed to four more of the 78-seat turboprops. Options for another four of the big propjets accompanied the firm order, worth roughly $80 million. The Japanese launch customer for the Q400, JAC took delivery of the first of five aircraft in October 2002.
The cyclical nature of the airline business showed its inevitability again at this year’s Regional Airline Association convention, held May 21 to 24 in Memphis, Tenn. More than 1,500 visitors passed through the turnstiles at the Memphis Convention Center–a record number for an RAA convention.