Despite some vacillation on the part of airframe OEMs still studying the form their respective 90-seat turboprop might finally take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s engine offering continues on what company vice president of marketing Richard Dussault called a critical path leading to expected launch next year.
Bombardier Dash 8
ExecuJet Aviation Group’s ExecuJet Africa is expanding its Cape Town International Airport facility’s support capability to include the Bombardier Dash 8/Q300. The MRO currently has one Dash 8/Q300 undergoing C-check base maintenance in its 64,500-sq-ft Cape Town hangar and is preparing for an influx of Dash 8/Q300s to undergo maintenance at the facility by the end of April.
ExecuJet had previously carried out C-check base maintenance on Dash 8s at its Lanseria International Airport facility.
Toronto-based Porter Airlines on Wednesday revealed itself as the “unidentified Americas-based” customer for the Bombardier CSeries. The purchase agreement, still subject to certain conditions including relaxing the airport’s limitations on jet operations, calls for a firm order for 12 CS100s and options on another 18.
The success enjoyed by outside players in providing capacity to Africa has meant regional and domestic business has assumed ever-increasing importance not just for Africa’s indigenous airlines but for the continent’s economic growth as well. The tremendous distances between population centers and the lack of convenient and reliable roads also make Africa a bumper opportunity for suppliers of regional jets with seating capacities of around 100.
Russia’s Yakutia Airlines took the first of three Bombardier Q400 turboprops to its base at Yakutsk Airport in late January, marking the first-ever delivery of the big turboprop to a Russian operator. Yakutia’s new status as a Q400 operator follows type approval for the type by Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) in June last year.
SAS’s conciliation with the last of its eight main labor unions in late November allows the Scandinavian carrier to move ahead with the sale of its Wideroe regional subsidiary as part of its “4Excellence Next Generation” restructuring.
Air Canada announced plans last month to transfer its fifteen 73-seat Embraer E175s to regional affiliate Sky Regional Airlines under the two companies’ existing capacity purchase agreement (CPA). Air Canada plans to start the transition in February and deliver the last airplane to Toronto-based Sky Regional in June.
A new Japanese regional airline called Link plans to place the first of three new 70-seat ATR 72-600s into service during next year’s fourth quarter, marking the introduction of the Franco-Italian turboprops into a market until recently held captive by rival manufacturer Bombardier.
Appearing at the Japan Aerospace Exhibition, held in Nagoya from October 9 to 14, Link said it plans to lease the airplanes, but as of press time it remained unclear whether or not they would come from an existing ATR customer.
Pinnacle Airlines subsidiary Colgan Air performed its last revenue flight on September 5. Flight 3923, a Bombardier Q400 operating as United Express, flew from Washington Dulles International Airport to Albany International, arriving at 8:11 a.m. local time.
Pinnacle entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection April 1 and on that same day announced its plan to “wind down” all its turboprop flying and close Colgan by November 30. United’s ability to reach a deal quickly with Republic Airways to fly the 28 Q400s leased by Colgan allowed Pinnacle to accelerate the closure process.
Warsaw-based Eurolot has converted options on six Bombardier Q400 turboprops to a firm order worth $190 million based on list prices, the Canadian manufacturer announced last month. Once delivered, the new airplanes will increase the size of Eurolot’s Q400 fleet to 14 while replacing aging ATR 42s and 72s. Eurolot placed a firm order for eight Q400s with options on another 12 in early March and took delivery of the first in mid-May.