As airline traffic continues to recover from the global recession, airframe and engine manufacturers continue to develop new models and consider follow-on products. Several companies provided updates at the European Regions Airline Association assembly in Barcelona in late September.
Although deliveries of smaller regional jets have dropped dramatically in the past few years, Forecast International expects growing numbers of jets to be delivered from 2010 through 2019. In its recent study, “The Market for Regional Transport Aircraft,” Newtown, Conn.-based Forecast International projects production of 4,016 regional turboprops and jets valued at $123 billion during the coming decade.
Mitsubishi has tried not to let lackluster sales tarnish an efficiently run development campaign for the MRJ regional jet, the first metal for which workers cut during a ceremony in Nagoya, Japan, last week. As promised, the program passed its detailed design reviews by the end of the summer.
Korean Air Lines is considering expanding its service on existing routes to China and Japan with 70- to 120-seat regional jets in two years. “We may inject the planes into routes operated by our budget carrier unit Jin Air as well,” said KAL chairman Cho Yang-Ho. KAL does not currently operate any regional jets; its smallest aircraft are 737-800s operated by its low-cost Jin Air division.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) could enter the regional turboprop segment as early as next year, if it proceeds with the launch of a 90-seat aircraft it is currently evaluating. The company had rejected the idea of a regional jet due to the crowded market already existing with segment leaders Embraer and Bombardier being joined by new aircraft from Mitsubishi, Sukhoi and AVIC.
Bombardier Aerospace’s sales force will no doubt feel considerable pressure to boost CRJ transactions this month, as the company again considers cutting production of its regional jet line in Mirabel, Canada, in reaction to weak sales.
Some 30 U.S. airports risk losing their last regional airline flights unless they take “critical steps” to better balance revenue, cost and compensation rates, according to a report published earlier this year by San Diego-based aviation consultancy Innovation Analysis Group (IAG).
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft and Cello Aviation are jointly showing a newly converted Avro Business Jet (ABJ) here on the EBACE static display. The aircraft has just been extensively remodeled by BAE’s completions partner Inflite Engineering.
Brazil’s Embraer will decide on the platform for a new aircraft program by year-end, executive vice president Mauro Kern told AIN last month. Kern’s revelation came just days after the company announced the establishment of a new division called New Programs-Airline Market to explore options for a successor to its line of 70- to 110-seat airliners.