Russia’s Yakutia Airlines took the first of three Bombardier Q400 turboprops to its base at Yakutsk Airport in late January, marking the first-ever delivery of the big turboprop to a Russian operator. Yakutia’s new status as a Q400 operator follows type approval for the type by Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) in June last year.
Bombardier Dash 8
SAS’s conciliation with the last of its eight main labor unions in late November allows the Scandinavian carrier to move ahead with the sale of its Wideroe regional subsidiary as part of its “4Excellence Next Generation” restructuring.
Air Canada announced plans last month to transfer its fifteen 73-seat Embraer E175s to regional affiliate Sky Regional Airlines under the two companies’ existing capacity purchase agreement (CPA). Air Canada plans to start the transition in February and deliver the last airplane to Toronto-based Sky Regional in June.
A new Japanese regional airline called Link plans to place the first of three new 70-seat ATR 72-600s into service during next year’s fourth quarter, marking the introduction of the Franco-Italian turboprops into a market until recently held captive by rival manufacturer Bombardier.
Appearing at the Japan Aerospace Exhibition, held in Nagoya from October 9 to 14, Link said it plans to lease the airplanes, but as of press time it remained unclear whether or not they would come from an existing ATR customer.
Pinnacle Airlines subsidiary Colgan Air performed its last revenue flight on September 5. Flight 3923, a Bombardier Q400 operating as United Express, flew from Washington Dulles International Airport to Albany International, arriving at 8:11 a.m. local time.
Pinnacle entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection April 1 and on that same day announced its plan to “wind down” all its turboprop flying and close Colgan by November 30. United’s ability to reach a deal quickly with Republic Airways to fly the 28 Q400s leased by Colgan allowed Pinnacle to accelerate the closure process.
Warsaw-based Eurolot has converted options on six Bombardier Q400 turboprops to a firm order worth $190 million based on list prices, the Canadian manufacturer announced last month. Once delivered, the new airplanes will increase the size of Eurolot’s Q400 fleet to 14 while replacing aging ATR 42s and 72s. Eurolot placed a firm order for eight Q400s with options on another 12 in early March and took delivery of the first in mid-May.
Calgary-based low-fare airline WestJet last month converted a conditional order for 20 Bombardier Q400s to firm status. In the process, it secured options on another 25 of the turboprops, potentially raising the value of the order to $1.59 billion based on list prices.
Russia was a priority for Bombardier long before it dispatched Q400 C-GLKU on a worldwide tour. Now, with issuance of Russian certification of the high-speed turboprop on June 6, Bombardier redoubled its marketing efforts in the promising market, sending the Q400 demonstrator to Moscow, Saratov, Kazan, Tyumen, Yekaterinburg, Kemerovo, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Yakutsk, Magadan and Anadyr from May 21 to June 9. Over the next 20 years, the Canadian manufacturer expects Russia to need some 200 large turboprops and, as of now, Bombardier builds the biggest and fastest, albeit also the most expensive.
Bankrupt Pinnacle Airlines suspended negotiations over pay concessions with its unions while it “reformulates” its business plan in an effort to issue a more competitive contract offer to mainline partner Delta Air Lines, according to a June 22 letter sent by CEO John Spanjers to all employees.
Made public in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the letter said that Delta told Pinnacle management that its competitors had submitted bids for Bombardier CRJ900 flying that undercut Pinnacle’s current rates by a “significant” margin.
Bombardier Aerospace closed its Farnborough International Airshow order book last Thursday by announcing a firm order for six Q400 NextGen turboprops by Chorus Aviation of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the parent company of Jazz Aviation. The transaction, valued at $189 million, involved the conversion of six of 15 options taken by Jazz Aviation in 2010. The aircraft will be operated under the Air Canada Express banner.