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Q400 Questions - Why Is It Not More Common?  
User currently offlinescutfarcus From United States of America, joined May 2000, 396 posts, RR: 1
Posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 13983 times:

I really like the Q400, much roomier than the RJs. It's marketed as being much more efficient and much cheaper than comparable RJs. So why isn't it more popular in the US? Is it simply the passenger psychology of prop planes? Are there other reason an airline would choose an RJ given the Q400 option?

Thanks!

62 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinebahadir From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 1775 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 13904 times:

Much roomier than RJs? I hope you were not referring to CRJs  


Earthbound misfit I
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25069 posts, RR: 46
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 13896 times:

The Q400 has relative high ownership cost, and has had a fair bit of teething issues at operators. (go ask Lynx most recently).


From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinethefuture From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 13819 times:

Qantaslink now has a large fleet of dask 8's inc ~ 21 Q400's.

Flew one the other day.

In their inflight magazine, it said their Q400 range was 2522kms (1362nm) with 70 pax @ 200lb MCR, ISA, SL (whatever those letters mean)

With that sort of range, wouldn't it be a good aircraft for longer thinner routes, that couldn't justify a jet, with much higher operating costs ?

What is currently the longest Q400 route ?


User currently offlineSuperDash From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 574 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 13733 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
The Q400 has relative high ownership cost, and has had a fair bit of teething issues at operators. (go ask Lynx most recently).



They actually are much cheaper to own than a CRJ-700 or E-170. Their trip costs are very similar to the 50 regional jets. Basically they are about 30% less costly to operate on a 500 mile run than their 70 seat jet counterparts. They are an amazing plane on routes 500 miles or less. They are a good plane on 500-750 miles. However, as LAXintl mentioned, they do not have as strong of a reliability as the jets. So an airline does need to compensate with a higher spare to flying line ratio. Even with that, the costs are far superior to the CRJ-700/E-170.

Why don't more airlines have them? I think most carriers are able to have a stable of 70 seat jets and the marketing folks like jets over props - even though I will tell you there really isn't any discernible book away from large props. Continental was forced into the plane because their scope clause allows only 50 seaters and below on the jet side and the Q400 is a good slot buster at Newark. AA Eagle also operates a large turboprop. Not sure what they will do with the ATRs in the future. I wouldn't be surprised to see a resurgence of the Q400 in the future as 50 seat jets come out of the schedule. But even airlines like Delta are posturing that they will be all jet - which has a nice marketing buzz, but will make the finance department shake their head.


User currently offline9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1391 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 13672 times:

As an interesting side note,Jazz will be using their new Q400's to replace some of their CRJ 200's which will be returned to the lessors rather than their relic DH1 and the less so DH3. In respect to longest stage length,thought I saw a thread where ET was planning a 3.5 hour stage length from ADD to Mombasa.

User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25069 posts, RR: 46
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 13652 times:

Quoting SuperDash (Reply 4):
They actually are much cheaper to own than a CRJ-700 or E-170.

I'm not comparing them to jets, but its prop peers.
New ATR-72 can be had for ~20-30% less, which means lower ownership cost, has a bit lower DOC, and higher reliability.

With the exception of speed, I'd stock up on an ATR fleet anyday, which is probably a reason the type enjoys a record order backlog.

[Edited 2010-07-05 17:01:14]


From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinethefuture From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 13649 times:

QF LINK DO BNE & SYD/LHD which is over water & notice they reduce checked baggage to only 14kgs (maybe it's not a Q400 - might be a dash 300)

Why would they have to restrict baggage so more ? Due to carrying lift rafts ?


User currently offlineAirNovaBAe146 From Canada, joined Jun 2008, 362 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 13394 times:

Quoting 9252fly (Reply 5):
In respect to longest stage length,thought I saw a thread where ET was planning a 3.5 hour stage length from ADD to Mombasa.

In 2007 and 2008, SAX flew JNB - FBM, which is ~880 nm. It was blocked at 3hrs and usually took up every bit of that!

IMHO, 2.5hr + stage lengths on the Q400 are excessive, UNLESS it is a unique city pair that would not otherwise get service. However when you push it to 3+ hrs, you delve into the situation where you're often having to take extra fuel, which is going to reduce your payload (pax and cargo).

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):

With the exception of speed, I'd stock up on an ATR fleet anyday, which is probably a reason the type enjoys a record order backlog.

The ATR is clearly a prop - you could make the argument that the Q400 is a jet in a prop's body. It is quiet, fuel efficient, and FAST. You could not place ATR 42s or 72s s on many of of the worldwide routes the Q400 does, without significant time penalty. With the Q400, you can almost forget you are flying on a prop, whereas with a noisy ATR, its kind of hard....


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 13307 times:

Quoting bahadir (Reply 1):
Much roomier than RJs? I hope you were not referring to CRJs
Quoting AirNovaBAe146 (Reply 8):
You could not place ATR 42s or 72s s on many of of the worldwide routes the Q400 does, without significant time penalty. With the Q400, you can almost forget you are flying on a prop, whereas with a noisy ATR, its kind of hard....

Trip times on the Q400 is pretty much on par with a CR2 at lower altitudes where the generally stay under 400kts.

The ATR is VERY sssllllooooooooooooowwwwwww. You're haulin ass if you get her above 285 on a good day.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineFRNT787 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1320 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 13305 times:

Quoting SuperDash (Reply 4):
even though I will tell you there really isn't any discernible book away from large props.

Republic Airways claims there was a significant loss of passengers at DEN flying the Q400. That was part of the reason that they are removing them, and replacing them with Embraers.



"We have a right to fail, because failure makes us grow" --Glenn Beck
User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 13305 times:

Quoting AirNovaBAe146 (Reply 8):
The ATR is clearly a prop - you could make the argument that the Q400 is a jet in a prop's body. It is quiet, fuel efficient, and FAST. You could not place ATR 42s or 72s s on many of of the worldwide routes the Q400 does, without significant time penalty. With the Q400, you can almost forget you are flying on a prop, whereas with a noisy ATR, its kind of hard....

I am a pax and I detest turboprops! I have flown on AC Dash 8's and AA ATRs and swear that I once had the fillings in my teeth fall off! On the other hand, I love the AC Bombardier (Global Express?) - it's so slick and like a private jet.

To answer the OP, economics favors the turboprops, but if your competitor is fielding a jet, folks are going to take the jet, IMO.


User currently offline9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1391 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 13238 times:

Quoting FRNT787 (Reply 10):
Republic Airways claims there was a significant loss of passengers at DEN flying the Q400.

There must be more to the story than that. I can't imagine when F9 chose the DH4 they failed to do their research.


User currently offlineFRNT787 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1320 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 13182 times:

Quoting 9252fly (Reply 12):
There must be more to the story than that. I can't imagine when F9 chose the DH4 they failed to do their research.

Like I said, that is part of it. Long story short, when Republic bought Frontier, having a small fleet of Q400s became unnecessary. Because Republic operates the largest E-Jet fleet in the world, having 11 Q400s were no longer efficient. The Q400 became more expensive to own and operate than a comparable number of E-Jets. As such, they were dropped in favor of the E-Jets. But, Turbo-Prop avoidance was a major problem in DEN. The Q400s were competing against WN 737s and Skywest CRJs. The passengers made their choice, it was not the Q400.



"We have a right to fail, because failure makes us grow" --Glenn Beck
User currently offlineDeltaB757TUS From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 75 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 12977 times:

IMO the reason the Q400 has not sold very well in the states is that when the majority of the flying public hear the term prop or even turbo prop they automatically think back to the 1950's and back from there to when the only planes in the air where propeller aircraft. So in turn they automatically think the planes is slow noisy and will get tossed around in turbulence. Which if we even think about it a jet flying at 40,000 ft., will get tossed about by turbulence. So in conclusion people want jets because they are faster and save time no matter the length of the flight.


A/C Flown: CR1, CR2, CR7, CR9, B727, B732, B733, B735, B752, B762, B764, SF3, EM2, D95, M88
User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 12870 times:

Quoting DeltaB757TUS (Reply 14):
IMO the reason the Q400 has not sold very well in the states is that when the majority of the flying public hear the term prop or even turbo prop they automatically think back to the 1950's and back from there to when the only planes in the air where propeller aircraft. So in turn they automatically think the planes is slow noisy and will get tossed around in turbulence. Which if we even think about it a jet flying at 40,000 ft., will get tossed about by turbulence. So in conclusion people want jets because they are faster and save time no matter the length of the flight.

But yet the CO Q400's seem to be popular, no? (Barring the BUF crash)



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineflypba From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 431 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 12822 times:

Horizon doesn't have any problems with their Q400s or putting passengers in them

User currently offlineZuluAlpha From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 399 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 12794 times:

Quoting thefuture (Reply 7):
QF LINK DO BNE & SYD/LHD which is over water & notice they reduce checked baggage to only 14kgs (maybe it's not a Q400 - might be a dash 300)

Why would they have to restrict baggage so more ? Due to carrying lift rafts ?

My understanding it is still a DH1 or DH2. The reason for the reduced baggage is a couple of reasons. If they arrive and have to do an air turn back, so they have enough fuel for the return flight (flying time is 1hr 50min). Also the runway is just under 3300ft (1000m) so it is a little short as well to cater for a DH3 or a DH4.



CRJ CR7 D10 DHT DH8 DH2 DH3 DH4 EMB ER3 E90 F28 J32 M80 SH6 320 332 333 380 717 732 733 734 738 743 744 752 762 763 772
User currently offlineZuluAlpha From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 399 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 12785 times:

Quoting flypba (Reply 16):
Horizon doesn't have any problems with their Q400s or putting passengers in them

Aren't they buying more ?



CRJ CR7 D10 DHT DH8 DH2 DH3 DH4 EMB ER3 E90 F28 J32 M80 SH6 320 332 333 380 717 732 733 734 738 743 744 752 762 763 772
User currently offlineFlyingfox27 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2007, 424 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 12386 times:

I think Flybe have quite a big fleet of them too, they are really nice to fly but its a shame they have reduced the flights to MAN but i could fly somewhere else for a change i suppose hehe.

User currently offlineus330 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 3871 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 12361 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
I'd stock up on an ATR fleet anyday, which is probably a reason the type enjoys a record order backlog.

I haven't flown on the Q400 yet, but I have flown on the CRJ-200/700, ERJ 145, and the ATR-72 (both the 200 and the 500).

Of those four types of aircraft, the best aircraft, IMO, in terms of cabin roominess and feeling like you are on a jet (in terms of cabin experience) was the ATR72-500--and I say this even having had to sit right by the prop on an hour flight. The 72-500's cabin felt like an EJet (although the overhead bins could be bigger), whereas the other three aircraft felt somewhat confined and cramped.

The aircraft might be slower than its competitors,but it is very much worth considering on certain stage lengths, when speed wouldn't be as much of an issue


User currently offlinedashman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 12286 times:

'

Quote:
I am a pax and I detest turboprops! I have flown on AC Dash 8's and AA ATRs

'
Probably not a fair comparison at 365kts and much quieter when the ANVS system is working properly

Quote:
The Q400 has relative high ownership cost, and has had a fair bit of teething issues at operators

After 10 years many of the teething issues remain and Bombardier is slow, can't or won't adequately address some of those issues. When the 400 is running properly it is an awesome aircraft for legs 2 hours or less. Unfortunately it is not consistently reliable and being reliable is where the CRJ seems to shine.


User currently offlineB777LRF From Luxembourg, joined Nov 2008, 1326 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 12220 times:

It is, in my opinion, a piece of aeronautical floatsam. An unholy combination of noise, vibrations and cramped conditions coupled with a tendency to break at every given oppertunity is what it is. I detest it with a vengence, and will not set foot onboard one unless by life depends upon it.


From receips and radials over straight pipes to big fans - been there, done that, got the hearing defects to prove
User currently offliner2rho From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2602 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 12215 times:

Quoting scutfarcus (Thread starter):
I really like the Q400, much roomier than the RJs. It's marketed as being much more efficient and much cheaper than comparable RJs. So why isn't it more popular in the US? Is it simply the passenger psychology of prop planes? Are there other reason an airline would choose an RJ given the Q400 option?

A combination of factors, but mainly the RJ madness/cheap fuel of the 90's, complemented by a passenger perception created by the airlines and based on a now outdated idea of turboprops. In consequence, the US legacies are now trapped with hundreds of inefficient 50-seat RJ's...

Oil prices are not going to go down, so I see good chances for the Q400 in the future. Even better if BBD launches the proposed stretch.

Quoting AirNovaBAe146 (Reply 8):
The ATR is clearly a prop - you could make the argument that the Q400 is a jet in a prop's body. It is quiet, fuel efficient, and FAST. You could not place ATR 42s or 72s s on many of of the worldwide routes the Q400 does, without significant time penalty. With the Q400, you can almost forget you are flying on a prop, whereas with a noisy ATR, its kind of hard....

Noisy ATR? I guess this should be no surprise since the ATR's flying in North America are all old models and I don't know of any -500 customers in the region, so you'd have to go abroad to ride one of those. Once you do, it should dramatically change your impression of the aircraft.

As for speed, ATR's are indeed slower but on shorter routes this can be insignificant. Routes in the US are typically longer so the Q400's speed may be useful, but in other regions with shorter routes, the ATR can be the better option. As LAXintl points out it has lower DOC and acquisition costs, and it has better cargo capacity too. So in the end the choice between one or the other depends on each airline's route structure.

Quoting AirNovaBAe146 (Reply 8):
IMHO, 2.5hr + stage lengths on the Q400 are excessive, UNLESS it is a unique city pair that would not otherwise get service.

For certain small communities in the US still served by RJ's, in the future they will probably have to choose between turboprop or no air service at all.


User currently offlinembe0002 From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 23 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 12186 times:

Quoting 9252fly (Reply 5):
In respect to longest stage length,thought I saw a thread where ET was planning a 3.5 hour stage length from ADD to Mombasa.

ET also flies ADD-DAR, daytime flight with 737 takes 2:40-3:00 hrs. and red-eye with Dash8 3:30 hrs. (according to the ET-Website) . As the seat pitch and the 2-2 seating of the Dash8 is usually quite comfortable I would prefer to go by "prop". Btw. do they have installed ovens to serve hot food?


25 aireuropeuk733 : I believe that Flybe have the largest fleet of Q400s in the world (?) I have flown on them numerous times SOU-NCL/MAN/GLA and have to say they make a
26 BMIFlyer : I think they have 55 - 60 of the type, although I can't be sure. The rest are Embraer 195's (14)
27 JoeCanuck : I've yet to fly on a Q400 but have done dozens of flights on AC/Jazz -100 and 300's. They are buzzy beasts on takeoff but quite tolerable in cruise. I
28 THEBATMAN : I believe that turboprops don't catch on here in the U.S. for the same reason diesel cars don't - it's all in their heads. "turboprops are loud and sl
29 AviationAddict : I don't agree with that. For short hops (say 200 NM or less) the jets aren't always able to open it up due to traffic/routing/altitude restrictions s
30 thegreatRDU : The ATR is noisier, night and day slower, only has boarding through the rear door, and balance issues... I love the Q400
31 FlyASAGuy2005 : True. Where the jets fly standard SIDs; ASA's ATRs were given immediate turns upon T/O to get them out of the way. My recent EWR-ORF on Colgan's Q400
32 cschleic : Generally true. But, as a passenger, there's a limit to the length of time I'd want to spend in one, particularly if the competition flies larger jet
33 spud757 : I love the Q400 - flown Flybe ex-MAN a number of times on domestic routes to BHD, IOM and BOH. Much nicer to fly on than the E145 which feels tiny. Th
34 willd : I too have been flying on the BE Q400's since about 2005 and must say they are a fantastic plane and well suited to the BE network. The ride is comfor
35 9252fly : As the world's largest operator,what would regular BE customers have to say about the reliability of the fleet? QX was an early adopter of the type a
36 scutfarcus : Fascinating, thanks for all the replies. I probably should have been asking about props in general, but the Q400 was on my mind having just gotten off
37 WROORD : I think that Q400 is not widely used in US, but quite popular elsewhere. Porter and Jazz in Canada, SAS, Augsburg Airways flying for LH, Air Baltic i
38 413X3 : people have no idea what airplane they are flying, and if they see Q400 do you think anyone would have a clue? They just want cheap tickets. That's it
39 queb : You're right but the Q400 max cruise speed is 360 knots at 25,000 feet (276 knots at 17,000 feet for the ATR 72-600) and has a range of 1362 nautical
40 FRNT787 : According to Republic Airways, that was simply not true.
41 413X3 : Any published reports? Or are we just supposed to take their word for it? Going by the history of that company, I'm sure it has more to do with them
42 thegreatRDU : It is true price is the ultimate loyalty factor
43 jetboy319 : The general public does not have access to any internal mechanical/reliability reports and as such, are simply led to believe what they are told. As
44 ETinCaribe : BTW, anyone knows what these mean, esp. ISA, which I have seen in another thread. Correct, ADD-DAR (Addis Abeba to Dar Es Salaam) and other regional
45 AirframeAS : F9 did their research wayyyyy before RAH ever took over. Keep in mind that RAH is now the new owners of F9. I'm still waiting for BB to come up with
46 pnwtraveler : Does the Q have the higher beltline of windows similar to the CRJ700/900/1000? I would think that perhaps that adds to the perception that the fuselag
47 nitepilot79 : [quote=FlyASAGuy2005,reply=9] The ATR is VERY sssllllooooooooooooowwwwwww. You're haulin ass if you get her above 285 on a good day.[/quote Am I right
48 Post contains links Viscount724 : SL - sea level ISA - International Standard Atmosphere http://www.answers.com/topic/standard-atmosphere-1 Not sure what MCR means.
49 LimaFoxTango : Maximum CRuise power setting.
50 Arrow : I doubt that. They perform the way they were designed to perform, and from the sound of it they do it very well. The Q400 was designed to go a lot fa
51 EXTspotter : I use BE's Q400s reasonably often and reliability hasn't been an issue for me. I often am looking at the exeter airport website and even mech delays o
52 FRNT787 : Nobody publishes that kind of data. I have seen a very strait-forward CEO at RAH since watching this acquisition. From the beginning, he said he didn
53 bjorn14 : I wish they would have picked the PW150 engine instead of the PW127M at least they could compete with the spead factor of the Q400.
54 AirframeAS : Costs are one thing, I can understand that. But the "Avoidance Factor". Are folks REALLY avoiding turboprops? I'd think not. I mean, C'mon.... Look a
55 FRNT787 : Well, Lynx has had low load factors from the beginning. So either Frontier is terrible at marketing only their Lynx routes (despite being able to mar
56 joecanuck : In Canada, turbo props have been a fact of life, seemingly forever. While I'm sure it happens, I don't know of anybody who avoided a flight because it
57 Viscount724 : AC (then TCA) was the first airline in North America to operate turbine-powered equipment when they put their first turboprop Viscounts in service in
58 connies4ever : Fond memories of YWG-YQR-YYC-YLW-YVR on an Air BC DH1 many years ago. Esp. the strong X-wind landing in YLW ! Rockin' and rollin'. I also once did YW
59 Post contains links scutfarcus : So.... based on this convo, my alter-ego wrote a little blog post on the subject: http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/07/...w-passenger-psychology-wastes
60 connies4ever : Nick - I think a well-written piece that captures the essence of this thread - it's about the perception that jets are somehow 'better' (faster, safe
61 AirframeAS : With that in mind, people don't realize that the Q400 is actually a jet with props. It has a turbine engine.
62 SuperDash : I agree. Bombardier did a survey for Horizon back in the day and aircraft type was fifth on the list of preferences for buying a ticket. Price and sc
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