Technical difficulties continued to dog regional airplanes built by a financially resurgent Bombardier last month, as no fewer than 85 Q400 turboprops sat idle while operators performed emergency inspections on their main landing gear.
A second incident in three days involving collapsed landing gear on a Scandinavian Airlines Bombardier Q400 has prompted Bombardier to recommend that operators ground any Q400 that has accumulated more than 10,000 landing gear cycles until they complete emergency inspections.
Embraer gained FAA certification for the E195 last month, more than a year after it won certification for the 110-seat airliner from European and Brazilian authorities and delivered the first production example to launch customer Flybe of the UK.
Embraer yesterday said it has signed a “preliminary commercial agreement” with a Brazilian airline for dozens of airliners in a deal potentially worth $1.46 billion. The regional jet manufacturer also said it converted $285 million worth of previously disclosed airliner options into firm commitments.
Tame Línea Aérea del Ecuador has converted two options on Embraer 190 regional jets into firm orders, Embraer announced here at the Paris Air Show. This will bring to five the number of Embraer 170/190 family aircraft in operation with the state-owned Ecuadorian airline.
UK regional Flybe has completed acquisition of much of Manchester-based British Airways subsidiary BA Connect, receiving the business and some £130 million ($250 million) in exchange for granting British Airways a 15-percent stake in the enlarged operation. As it restructures the new grouping, Flybe will buy more Bombardier Q400 turboprops and Embraer E195s, said the Exeter-based low-fare regional.
As the emirate of Dubai helds its biennial international airshow last month, travelers from anywhere but a major city were feeling first hand the pressures against a robust regional-airline industry in the Arab world.
The largest member of Embraer’s E-Jet line of single-aisle airplanes is making its international airshow debut here in Paris, only a week after the Brazilian airframe builder landed a launch order for 14 from the UK’s FlyBE. The Exeter-based low-fare, full-service carrier plans to replace its fleet of aging BAe 146 quadjets with the Brazilian twin, scheduled for delivery from August 2006 to November 2007.
Bombardier Aerospace announced yesterday that Exeter, UK-based FlyBe has converted four options on the Bombardier Q400 turboprop airliners to firm orders. The contract is valued at about $100 million. Delivery of the four aircraft, coupled with the order for 20 Q400s announced January 27, will increase FlyBe’s Q400 fleet to 45 aircraft. Yesterday’s contract increases orders for the Q400 to 151 aircraft.
The so-called regional jet revolution has in the minds of many rendered turboprops a quaint throwback to the days of “commuter” airlines. But this year’s spate of big orders for new turboprops has turned conventional wisdom on its ear, giving the last two Western builders of prop-driven airliners a renewed sense of vitality.