In one of his first appearances as new chief executive of ATR, a somewhat hesitant Stéphane Mayer announced new orders from Berjana Airlines of Malaysia (for four ATR 72-500s) and from Total Linhas Aereas of Brazil for three ATR 42-500s, two 72-500s and five options.
Bombardier Dash 8
Avions de Transport Régional (ATR) is sharing in the booming regional market and the upswing in orders for short-haul turboprop aircraft, with this year already proving fruitful after two record years.
Bombardier has assembly plants in Wichita, Toronto and Montreal and manufacturing plants in Montreal, Belfast in the UK, and Querétaro in Mexico. But Pierre Beaudoin, Bombardier president and chief operating officer, dismisses the notion that manufacturing in high-cost economies is an anachronism.
Bombardier Aerospace is responding to demand for bigger regional jets with its 100-seat CRJ1000 and continues to mull a 90-seat stretch of its Q400 turboprop. Regional airlines are thriving, but constant pressure on operating costs means their equipment is getting steadily bigger, the company’s top executives agreed at a pre-show briefing in Belfast last month.
Current and future airplane use, fleet complexity and increased competition all will influence decisions about new aircraft by short-haul airlines, according to Jurgen Hild, head of regional partner management at German flag carrier Lufthansa.
This year’s RAA Convention couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time and place for Memphis, Tenn.’s hometown airline. The proud new owner of a second operating subsidiary and revamped service contract with Northwest Airlines, Pinnacle Airlines has officially shed the manacles of a highly restrictive code-share deal and joined the open market for regional services.
Last year saw reasonably brisk activity in the regional turboprop business, as the Western world’s remaining players scrambled to hold their positions during a period of continuing sluggishness in the air-transport sector.
Japanese investigators have determined that
a missing support arm bolt caused the nosegear hatch on an All Nippon Airways Bombardier Q400 to jam as it approached Kochi Airport on March 13, forcing the turboprop twin to land on its nose and prompting authorities to ground all Bombardier
Siberian regional airline UTair has selected the Franco-Italian ATR 42 as its primary growth platform in the first-ever open tender for regional turboprops held by a Russian airline. UTair, ATR and Irish leasing company Magellan Air signed the respective letters of intent for five used ATR 42-300s on August 5, some three weeks before the parties expected to sign a firm contract.
Bombardier acknowledged in late January that it has held “exploratory discussions” about collaboration in the turboprop market with Russian aircraft maker Aviacor, but it stopped short of confirming reports that it will transfer Q300 turboprop production to the underused factory, now owned by Oleg Deripaska’s Basic Element holding company.