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.
Bombardier Aerospace is in Atlanta this week highlighting its increased emphasis on worldwide customer service and product support for the entire Bombardier business jet and regional airliner customer base.
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.
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.
Qantas has placed a firm order with Bombardier for seven Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners in a deal valued at $218 million based on list prices for the airplanes. The order adds to the 21 Q400s operated by QantasLink. The first new aircraft are due for delivery in the first half of 2011. Bombardier has booked firm orders for 385 Q400 NextGen aircraft including the Qantas order. The Canadian manufacturer has delivered 300 to date.
French-Italian regional turboprop manufacturer ATR earlier this month unveiled a new partnership with Italian design house Giugiaro Design for the development of the cabin of its ATR 42/72-600 series. The makeover, called Armonia, reduces the aircraft’s total weight by the equivalent of two passengers and will be available as a retrofit on the ATR’s current -500 series.
Pratt & Whitney Canada has launched an all-new turboprop engine for regional aircraft to replace the 1,800- to 5,000-shp PW100 series. It expects to run the core demonstrator in the second half of next year.
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.
Mitsubishi Aircraft has hired the engineering division of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft to provide design integration and certification services for the development of its new MRJ regional jet. The program will focus on the integration of the aircraft’s propulsion system, specifically on the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engine and its pylons, nacelles, auxiliary power units and fuel systems.
While military-related products will give a boost to overall aerospace sales this year, the aerospace industry as a whole is likely to run short of momentum next year, according to the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA).