Hamilton Aerospace Technology, a maintenance, engineering and modification firm that started 57 years ago as Hamilton Aviation, is expanding its narrowbody airliner services to include regional jets. To that end, the company recently refurbished a 120-by 250-foot hangar at Tucson International Airport dedicated to core maintenance and overhaul of regional jets.
Airlines around the world in the market for equipment to serve the emerging 100-seat sector have no fewer than five choices to evaluate here at the Paris Air Show this week. Bombardier with its new C Series and Embraer with the 190/195 family enjoy a high profile, but alternative programs conceived farther east won’t easily let the Western airframers steal the show.
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.
The chasm separating the realm of full-size airliners and regional airplanes has claimed another victim, swallowing the Boeing 717 as surely as it did the Fokker 100 and British Aerospace 146/Avro RJ. So who, you ask, would dare tempt fate again? All signs point to Canada’s Bombardier.
A recent slew of new announcements from BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has reminded the industry that the BAE146/ Avro RJ jetliner family has not gone away. New lease packages to regional airlines, the possibility of a new production line and some innovative conversion packages all suggest that the four-engine jets still have some life left in them.
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft is negotiating a new sales contract for the Russian Regional Jet and may be able to announce the deal here at Dubai 2005 tomorrow, a company spokeswoman told Aviation International News yesterday. The deal will certainly not involve Aeroflot, however, as the Russian flagcarrier continues to weigh its options on a purchase of 30 regional jets, a decision it expects to announce by the end of the year.
Luxair, Luxembourg’s one-third government-owned private carrier, is rationalizing its regional-airline fleet and route system to improve productivity and profitability. “We’re restructuring everything, including the network,” Luxair executive vice president Martin Isler told AIN.
This past year has seen Embraer’s influence traverse industry sectors and spread to every corner of the globe. No longer simply a regional airline supplier, the Brazilian company has seen its products find homes with the likes of Air Canada, Finnair, Hong Kong Express, Panama’s Copa and India’s Paramount Airlines.
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Asia/Pacific regional director Anatoly Mezhevov confirmed here yesterday that Canada’s Bombardier had asked his company to join the now-shelved C Series project, but that Sukhoi declined.
While ATR and Bombardier’s de Havilland division enjoy a renaissance of sorts in the new turboprop airliner business, companies no longer involved in airplane manufacturing have moved to stake their own claims on the used market. For BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, however, managing and eliminating its “idle portfolio” has proven harder than one might imagine.