Calgary-based low-fare airline WestJet last month converted a conditional order for 20 Bombardier Q400s to firm status. In the process, it secured options on another 25 of the turboprops, potentially raising the value of the order to $1.59 billion based on list prices.
Bombardier Dash 8
Russia was a priority for Bombardier long before it dispatched Q400 C-GLKU on a worldwide tour. Now, with issuance of Russian certification of the high-speed turboprop on June 6, Bombardier redoubled its marketing efforts in the promising market, sending the Q400 demonstrator to Moscow, Saratov, Kazan, Tyumen, Yekaterinburg, Kemerovo, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Yakutsk, Magadan and Anadyr from May 21 to June 9. Over the next 20 years, the Canadian manufacturer expects Russia to need some 200 large turboprops and, as of now, Bombardier builds the biggest and fastest, albeit also the most expensive.
Bankrupt Pinnacle Airlines suspended negotiations over pay concessions with its unions while it “reformulates” its business plan in an effort to issue a more competitive contract offer to mainline partner Delta Air Lines, according to a June 22 letter sent by CEO John Spanjers to all employees.
Made public in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the letter said that Delta told Pinnacle management that its competitors had submitted bids for Bombardier CRJ900 flying that undercut Pinnacle’s current rates by a “significant” margin.
Bombardier Aerospace closed its Farnborough International Airshow order book last Thursday by announcing a firm order for six Q400 NextGen turboprops by Chorus Aviation of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the parent company of Jazz Aviation. The transaction, valued at $189 million, involved the conversion of six of 15 options taken by Jazz Aviation in 2010. The aircraft will be operated under the Air Canada Express banner.
It seems that much discussion is still under way at Bombardier as to whether or not it should launch a stretched, 90-seat model of its Dash 8 Q400 Next Gen turboprop.
Bombardier Aerospace has signed a nine-year agreement with Canadian airline Jazz Aviation for its Q400 Smart Parts program. According to the manufacturer, Smart Parts provides convenient access to parts using cost-efficient inventory management.
ATR’s 50-seat 42-600 turboprop was certificated by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) late last month, bringing to fruition a test campaign that saw the larger, 70-seat ATR 72-600 gain certification in May last year. The aircraft have been updated with glass cockpits and modern avionics systems along with other refinements, including the Armonia cabin designed by Italian car designer Giugiaro.
Bombardier’s Q400 became the largest Western-manufactured turboprop aircraft to gain approval to operate in Russia and the CIS last month, when the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC)–commonly known by its Russian acronym, MAK–awarded the airplane AP-25 type certification.
Last month the FAA proposed fining Seattle-based Horizon Air $445,125 for allegedly operating a Bombardier Q400 turboprop on 45 flights after failing to comply with an AD that calls for the airline to inspect for cracked or corroded engine nacelle fittings.
The AD, dated to take effect on March 17 last year, ordered inspections of the nacelles every 300 operating hours and completion of repairs as needed.