Bombardier is expanding maintenance capacity at its Tucson, Ariz., service center for its Q400 and Q400 NextGen twin turboprops. The airframer has added three additional lines of maintenance staff in southwestern U.S. facility, supplementing capacity already available to regional airline customers in Bridgeport, W.Va., and Macon, Ga.
Bombardier Dash 8
Bombardier Aerospace announced last month that Nordic Aviation Capital of Billund, Denmark, has signed a firm purchase agreement to acquire four Q400 turboprops. Bombardier places the value of the contact, based on list prices, at $134.77 million.
Despite the difficulty ATR has encountered in penetrating the U.S. turboprop market, company CEO Filippo Bagnato continues to express optimism that the Franco-Italian partnership will experience a resurgence in what perhaps represents its final frontier of a sort. Now controlling some 60 percent of the market for 50- to 90-seat airplanes based on unit sales backlogs, the last Western maker of 50-seat-category turboprops sees itself as a potential lifeline for small U.S. cities and communities that can no longer support the services of regional jets of any size.
Despite some vacillation on the part of airframe OEMs still studying the form their respective 90-seat turboprop might finally take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s engine offering continues on what company vice president of marketing Richard Dussault called a critical path leading to expected launch next year.
ExecuJet Aviation Group’s ExecuJet Africa is expanding its Cape Town International Airport facility’s support capability to include the Bombardier Dash 8/Q300. The MRO currently has one Dash 8/Q300 undergoing C-check base maintenance in its 64,500-sq-ft Cape Town hangar and is preparing for an influx of Dash 8/Q300s to undergo maintenance at the facility by the end of April.
ExecuJet had previously carried out C-check base maintenance on Dash 8s at its Lanseria International Airport facility.
Toronto-based Porter Airlines on Wednesday revealed itself as the “unidentified Americas-based” customer for the Bombardier CSeries. The purchase agreement, still subject to certain conditions including relaxing the airport’s limitations on jet operations, calls for a firm order for 12 CS100s and options on another 18.
The success enjoyed by outside players in providing capacity to Africa has meant regional and domestic business has assumed ever-increasing importance not just for Africa’s indigenous airlines but for the continent’s economic growth as well. The tremendous distances between population centers and the lack of convenient and reliable roads also make Africa a bumper opportunity for suppliers of regional jets with seating capacities of around 100.
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.
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.