This week here in Dubai, Fokker Services (Stand E556) is set to launch plans to stretch the service lives of short- to medium-range regional aircraft. The company, part of the Fokker Aircraft Group that is owned by Stork Aerospace, supports a global fleet of some 700 operational Fokker turboprop and jet airliners.
When is a business jet not a business jet?–When it has been developed into a regional jet that has been converted into a corporate jet. Some of those conversions, such as that of the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet Series 200 (CRJ200), itself based on the CL-600 Challenger business jet, have enjoyed mixed fortunes.
The first Project Phoenix CRJ is about to enter service, having made its first flight on June 12 from the Flying Colours facility in Canada, where the former Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet was converted into a 15-passenger business jet. The customer for the CRJ is Hong Kong-based aircraft sales group Ritz Pacific.
U.S. aerospace consultancy Teal Group has forecast demand for 2,909 regional aircraft worth $65.9 billion over the next 10 years. The projection includes 1,732 regional jets worth $46.9 billion and 1,177 turboprops worth $19 billion (2009 dollars).
Bombardier Aerospace has issued a new market forecast for regional and business aircraft which paints a picture of temporary gloom giving way to long-term strength, with overall 20-year order and delivery (O&D) expectations not much lower than the Canadian manufacturer was predicting a year ago.
Bombardier Aerospace is continuing to define a further stretch of its 78-passenger Dash 8 Q-400 regional turboprop to create a possible 90-seat variant that could enter service before the middle of the next decade.
Although heartened by the turnout at last month’s Regional Airline Association Convention, held May 18 to 21 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, the RAA could do nothing to lift the pall that the NTSB hearings on the February 12 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 and the generally gloomy economic environment would cast over the annual event.
Dubai-based Project Phoenix planned to deliver its first executive-configured CRJ conversion to owner Ritz Pacific by the end of last month. Completion of the modified regional jet was contracted to Peterborough, Ontario-based Flying Colours, which also has produced its own ExecLiner and Jetcorp Renaissance Series CRJ executive conversions.
German operator DC Aviation yesterday launched a frequent-flier program in part of an industry-wide scramble to offer better value for money in a still-weak executive charter sector. For an initial period running from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010, the new DC Aviation Loyalty Club will give customers a range of benefits, including flight prices on a sliding scale and guaranteed availability in the midsize jet segment.
Trans States Holdings president and COO Rick Leach has seen his company through rough patches in the past, and he has helped the RAA tackle “challenges” of many sorts from his position as an association board member. But as this year’s RAA chairman, Leach finds himself presented with a rare opportunity–a chance make a tangible difference during a time of genuine economic upheaval.