Bombardier Aerospace continues to suffer from what executives characterized as a soft market for regional aircraft. However, the company stopped short of announcing further cuts to production rates as widely expected.
Bombardier Dash 8
The regional airline business lost more of its luster last week, when Delta Air Lines announced it would retire its entire Saab 340 turboprop fleet and “adjust” flying in 24 small markets, 16 of which benefit from Essential Air Service subsidies.
Air Canada regional subsidiary Jazz Aviation began operating its first 74-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprop on June 7 on a route linking Toronto Pearson International Airport with Quebec City. On May 26 the airline took delivery of the first of 15 Q400s, all of which will replace 50-seat Bombardier CRJs as the delivery schedule stretches into July 2012. Jazz also holds options on another 15 airplanes.
ATR announced its first order from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) yesterday at the Paris Air Show, giving another boost to the Franco-Italian manufacturer’s newly certificated ATR 72-600 turboprop.
The first raw materials for Pratt & Whitney Canada’s new regional turboprop demonstrator have begun to arrive at the company’s Longueuil plant in Quebec as technicians prepare to assemble the compression system for the NGRT (next-generation regional turboprop).
Here at the Paris Air Show, ATR is showcasing its newly certified ATR 72-600 in the livery of Royal Air Maroc. Meanwhile, the European airframer’s final assembly line in Toulouse is to ramp up production of the 70-seater by 40 percent–in part driven by expectations of significant new orders to be placed at Le Bourget this week. Plans for a 90-seater could be firmed up next year.
For the first time in the 36-year history of the RAA a sitting DOT Secretary visited the association’s annual convention, as Ray LaHood made the trip to Nashville last month to deliver one of the most upbeat keynote addresses heard by delegates to the spring get-together in several years.
Air Canada launched the first direct competition against Bombardier Q400 operator Porter Airlines out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on May 1, when the flag carrier’s new regional subsidiary, Sky Regional Airlines, began service between the downtown Toronto airfield and Montreal. Flying under the new Air Canada Express brand, Sky Regional operates hourly Q400 service up to 15 times daily, between 7:30 a.m.
An Air Canada affiliate plans to launch operations from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on May 1, posing the first competition from the controversial downtown island airfield for incumbent regional carrier Porter Airlines since it launched operations in 2006.
A change in management philosophy at Seattle-based Horizon Air will next see it adopt the colors and livery of its parent company, Alaska Airlines, and largely retire the Horizon brand by some time early next year.