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?