Judging by figures released at a Paris press briefing on January 20, the waning resurgence of the commercial turboprop market has, if anything, resumed at a stronger pace than at any time since the segment began reclaiming lost ground from the regional jet market a half-decade ago, at least for Franco-Italian manufacturer ATR.
Bombardier Dash 8
Swiss regional airline Baboo, based in Geneva, and Darwin Airline, headquartered at Lugano Airport in southern Switzerland, an-nounced in late November that they have decided to merge. In fact, the move looked more like a takeover by Darwin of a competitor plagued by a notorious lack of profits.
Gurgaon, India-based SpiceJet placed a firm order last month for 15 Bombardier Q400 turboprops in a deal worth some $446 million, according to the Canadian manufacturer. The low-fare airline also took options on another 15 airplanes.
Indian low-fare carrier SpiceJet plans to buy as many as 30 Q400 turboprops from Bombardier in a deal worth up to $900 million.
“The [SpiceJet] board has approved a firm order for 15 and 15 on option,” SpiceJet CEO Neil Mills told AIN. “It has gone to the aircraft review committee and we expect to sign the agreement most probably by the end of [November]. We expect the deliveries to commence from June 2011.
Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet plans to buy as many as 30 Q400 turboprops from Bombardier in a deal worth up to $900 million.
Qantas removed from service five of the 21 Bombardier Q400s operated by regional affiliate QantasLink in late August after the airline found a defect in what it described as a main landing-gear component. Qantas said it decided to inspect the airplanes and ultimately remove them from service after consultation with fellow Q400 operator Flybe and Bombardier.
Seattle-based Horizon Air will end all its so-called “branded” flying under a plan to move to a 100-percent capacity purchase agreement (CPA) model starting January 1. As a result, Alaska Air Group’s other subsidiary, Alaska Airlines, will assume complete responsibility for managing Horizon’s route network, along with all the risk associated with marketing and selling seats on the airline’s fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprops and CRJ700s.
Egyptian executive charter company Smart Aviation placed a firm order for a pair of Bombardier Q400 turboprops in late August in preparation for its expansion into scheduled airline operations by year-end. The contract, which includes options for another three of the 74-seat turboprops, calls for delivery by December, at which time the company plans to launch services between secondary domestic destinations from its base in Cairo.
Republic Airways plans to continue operating three Bombardier Q400 turboprops from Denver this winter, reversing earlier plans to dismantle the fleet completely. As a result, Republic intends to continue to connect Denver with Aspen until at least April. Republic in February announced plans to replace all 11 Bombardier Q400s flown by its Lynx Airlines subsidiary with Embraer E170s and E190s.
Toronto-based Porter Airlines last month signed a firm order with Bombardier for four Q400s and placed options for another six of the 74-seat turboprops. The four aircraft will increase the size of Porter's Q400 fleet to 24. Porter's delivery schedule calls for the first airplane to arrive in the second quarter of next year. Deliveries would continue through the third quarter of 2012 if Porter exercises all of its options.