Topic Author
Posts: 3932
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Regional Jet Revolution Over?

Thu Nov 20, 2003 2:49 pm

In the past few month I´ve noticed that regional jet orders have drastically slowed down, especially when talking about 30-50 seaters. Hainan Airlines reduced itscommitment for 21 328JET down to 8, American Eagle has converted its ERJ-140 orders into ERJ-145 (from smaller to larger), Crossair is disposing of its 50-seat ERJs... and so on. Essentially it seems that the 50-seater RJ market has come to a stand-still in Europe with very little carriers still placing orders for them.

However at the same time an increased activity in the turboprop sector could be noticed: FlyBE decided to drop its CRJ200s in favour of 37 additional Dash 8-Q400. Qantas is likely to place an order for roundabout 20 Dash 8-Q400 to replace a part of its BAe 146 fleet (plus several additional Dash 8-Q300 to replace older versions). Continental Airlines has recently been connected to larger sized Dash 8-Q400 order. The Saab 2000 second-hand market is currently "booming" with several carriers picking up this 50-seat turboprop instead of similar sized RJs.

My critical thesis: the regional revolution - at least in the 50-seat or smaller sector - has come to an end in Europe. The segment is gradually shifting back to turboprops due to their economics, especially on short hops (an most of them are under 500 nm in Europe) where RJs really can´t play off their speed advantage.

Any thoughts on this?

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RE: Regional Jet Revolution Over?

Thu Nov 20, 2003 3:06 pm

Airlines must be stupid to start ordering props. The average consumer hates props and doesn't feel safe on them.
Posts: 667
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2001 10:45 am

RE: Regional Jet Revolution Over?

Thu Nov 20, 2003 3:12 pm

Another point could be that some routes have outgrown their 50 seat aircraft. I believe that LOT will be returning a couple of the older ERJ-145's when the new EMB-170's start arriving early next year.
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RE: Regional Jet Revolution Over?

Thu Nov 20, 2003 3:17 pm

The Boyd Group has been saying this for the North American market for over 3 years...

"As our forecast conference attendees learned more than three years ago, the new trend isn't "regional" jets, but mid-size "E-jets" - specifically, the Embraer 170/190 platform. Already jetBlue has ordered 100. US Airways has an order, too. Unlike RJs, these are not small jets with cramped cabins. They are direct competitors for the lower end of the market now dominated by the A-320 and B-737 series.

Since there is an emerging excess of 50-seat jets, plan also on a shrinking market for the entities that operate them, i.e., Small Jet Providers, which some folks still call "regional airlines." These are also becoming a part of a modular production chain, and major carriers will increasingly be able to pick and choose the suppliers which they feel are best suited to provide RJ lift. The shakeout is starting, with Atlantic Coast planning to pull out of the SJP business and try to go it alone. There may well be more SJPs in the next few years with fleets of Canadair and Embraer RJs all dressed up with no place to go.

FYI, FlyBE dropped the CRJ's for three reasons: 1) they can't go into LCY; 2) they wanted to standardize their fleet; and 3) the Q400 were basically white-tails and they got a great price (it helps that a senior FlyBE exec use to work for Bombardier Regional Aircraft Division).

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
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RE: Regional Jet Revolution Over?

Thu Nov 20, 2003 3:20 pm

New orders for 50 seaters and below seem to have stalled in the US also. Turboprops are probably here forever, though; Continental, after advertising their all jet Express service, has returned Beeches and Brasilias to Cleveland and Houston. American and Northwest seem happy with theirs. US Airways and United don't seem real sure what they're doing at the moment, but some props will stay at both. The pax would prefer jets, but if you're flying to the smallest airports, you better learn to love props.
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Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2001 8:47 pm

RE: Regional Jet Revolution Over?

Thu Nov 20, 2003 5:05 pm

Well, good to see the props are making a comeback! Big grin

Good economics, "proper cabins", short runway performance... Now if we can just solve the speed... Big grin

When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
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RE: Regional Jet Revolution Over?

Thu Nov 20, 2003 11:19 pm

Prior to 9/11, airlines were jumping unto the RJ bandwagon in a "Me Too" fashion. It was a case of keeping up with the neighbors. Airlines that really didn't need (or could afford) RJ were getting them. The RJ market may not have had the orders that they were getting prior to 9/11, but Embraer and Canadair have not had as many cancellations and delivery deferrals like Airbus and Boeing have had. The RJ market has grown as a result of the post-9/11 mainline cuts, with RJs orginally earmarked to increase frequencies on routes now being used on routes taken over from mainline service. The revolution is not over, it's just changed tack. Instead of using RJs to open up new cities or to reestablish lagging city pairs as the airlines did prior to 9/11, they are being used to maintain services to cities while the mainline operations are being put into a costcutting mode. It makes not sense to send a 150 pax a/c on a route that is only filling up less than half of the seats. Throw a 70 pax RJ or two RJ RTs for the previous one mainline RT, and the chances of making money on the route are greater. The RJs are now being deployed much like any other a/c in an airlines' fleet, they go where the demand is.
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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2001 5:46 am

RE: Regional Jet Revolution Over?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:55 am

Another sign?

Theres rumors that ACA would like to cancel it's order of 35(?) CRJ200 fromBombardier now that they'll become Independance Air and place an order for Airbuses. Their fleet of 85/87 CRJ seems to be at its peek.
I'd rather be flying...

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