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Commuter Aircraft

Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:06 am

In terms of reliability and cost efficiency what do you think the best commuter aircraft is?

Embraer, BA's Jetstreams, Beech 1900's, ATR's, or Saabs?

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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:21 am

From my experience I can say that Saab 340s are quite unreliable especially in winter conditions. They are also very loud and not very comfortable either as the cabin is very narrow. But I believe they are quite economical... if they are fully loaded there might be some balance problems even for short flights as the single cargo compartment is located aft of the fuselage.

Saab 2000 is excellent aircraft, very powerful, quiet and comfortable... It is comfortable even for a 2hr flight. Spacious cabin and well designed... not so balance sensitive than other props. Also much more reliable than S340..

ATRs and especially ATR72s are best of these in my opinion. New series -500 is extremely quiet (you don't even know you are in the prop aircraft!) and has quite good performance. Most spacious cabin and very big overhead bins which are rare for small aircrafts. I also like the 2+2 seating a lot... both -200 and -500 series are very reliable, even in the winter conditions. Finnair has been extremely pleased for their ATR72-201s and was the launch customer for that too. There isn't any balance problems with ATRs, because they have front and aft cargo compartments... therefore they have good cargo/mail capacity too.

So my votes goes for ATR... excellent product overall!

I'm not so familiar with Jetstreams or Embraers, so can't say anything about those...

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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:27 am

Well, you need to shorten the categories a bit.

Most of the 19 seat aircraft are not profitable to operate in a Part 121 environment due to the huge costs associated with security, maintenance, and training. So that rules out the J31 and 1900s.

The Saab, J41, and Brasilia. I'm biased towards the Brasilia. So I can't say much. The Saab & J41 get payload issues, but then again so does the EM2. While I lean towards the EM2, the Saab is probably more cost effective as you have either 33 or 34 seats in it and acquisition costs are lower.

ATR is in a league of its own. The only competitor is the ATP. And we know how successful that is.

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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:05 am

Don't leave the Dash 8's out of the running.
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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:42 pm

Another good point is choosing an aircraft for the right mission.

it looks like the ATR are the perfect candidate for the 400-1000 mile legs. but what about short legs less than 175 miles in length with high frequency. would a Brassilia be the best reliable and cost effective candidate?
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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:48 pm

Beechcraft not profitable because of 121, you sound like Jonathan Orienstein always preaching about the 1900's not being profitable, well if Johnny O didn't have the 1900's then he would have no RJ's either because the money he makes with the 1900's goes to fund the RJ's that Mesa purchases. All you need is 3 "Y or B" class tickest on a 1900 to break even and the rest is profit. Same with the J31.
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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:49 pm

what source could I reference to find a listing of all types of commuter aircraft and the specific airlines that use them. And maybe find out why that airline chose that particular aircraft.
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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Tue Mar 16, 2004 10:42 pm

I have heard the Beech's profitability is there because of such low operting cost and a very low break even, same with the j31, but the drawback is they are not very fun to fly in, or appealing to a passenger.

Reliability wise I don't know,
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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Tue Mar 16, 2004 10:49 pm

As i am a swede, I choose saab!
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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:45 am

I have flown both the ATR42/72 and the Dash 8 (series 100, 200 and 300). They are both excellent airplanes that outclass every other regional turboprop. In my experience, however, the Dash 8 aircraft tend to be more reliable than the ATR's, especially with respect to the airplanes electrical and environmental systems. The ATR's have a better load carrying capability and have longer range... They carry nearly double the fuel of the DHC-8-100/200/300.

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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Wed Mar 17, 2004 4:28 am


Unfortunately the days of passengers purchasing "Y" fares are over.

I am not getting involved in a Johnny O discussion with you, but lets look at Key West.

Day in and out, a simple 23 minute block time flight to MIA is constantly weight restricted to 18, sometimes even 16. Tampa, on the other hand, is 49 minute block time and gets restricted to as low as 15.

The cost for Mesa to operate a EYW/MIA leg is about $1450, and to operate EYW/TPA is about $1800.

You do the math.

Air Midwest is NOT a pro-rate operation, so they get a percentage of the fare, unless it is O/D then ZV gets 89% (I believe).

Taking into account a walkup fare to TPA from EYW averages about $200, and MIA is about $150, start doing some math and tell me how profitable it is to operate a 1900D in a Part 121 environment.

Look at Great Lakes... even they have offloaded 25 Beech 1900Ds, and Gulfstream is upgrading into the Brasilia.

the 19 seat model for 121 operations just isn't what it used to be...

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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:03 am

In this day and age I feel no reason to fly on a prop job no matter how short the trip, give me an Embraer RJ every time!
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:09 am

I am not sure you would feel the same way when flying into Aspen in poor weather.

"In this day and age I feel no reason to fly on a prop job no matter how short the trip, give me an Embraer RJ every time!"
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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Wed Mar 17, 2004 7:50 am

Correct me if I am wrong.... but doesn't the saab 340 and the saab 2000 have the exact same fuselage? Except for the plug and all!
How could one be "not very comfortable either as the cabin is very narrow," and the other be "Spacious cabin and well designed?" Huh!?

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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:01 am


I was thinking the same thing when I read that. If you look at these pictures of the Saab 340 and Saab 2000 interior they are the SAME. Infact, I think the SF2000 has the SF340 GEN III interior....!!!!

View Large View Medium

Photo © Erik Falkenström

View Large View Medium

Photo © Aeroview Zurich/Worldwide

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Photo © Michal Buciak [epwa_spotters]

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Photo © Max Teuber

[Edited 2004-03-17 00:03:07]
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Thu Mar 18, 2004 2:02 am

What is the motivation then of putting small 19 seaters on a 121 certificate? It would make sense to keep your operating costs down to keep them 135, probably unless you're required to becaue of feeding the 121 carriers.

I think your right, even through the Beech's and the Jetstreams have a low operating cost what can you realistically charge a passenger, a business traveler or even just a pleasure traveler on the weekend to fly in a cramped prop job. Especially in a 121 environment.

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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:43 am

You have some major thorns that add to your bottom line at an airline. All are due to 9/11.

#1. Security fees (cost of doing business w/ the TSA)

#2. Hull insurance has quadrupled, courtesy of all the families suing UAL and AA, & their insurers over 9/11

#3. Airport costs have skyrocketed, due to complex security regulations
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Thu Mar 18, 2004 6:19 am

well, we almost had a post without mentioning 9/11, but never mind!

Well id say the BAe Aircraft, simply because they are English.
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Florida Intrastate Carrier

Mon Mar 29, 2004 12:26 am

Looks like air midwest and gulfstream are moving away from the older J31's and Beech's and moving up. Right now there is no Florida Intrastate Carrier serving multiple cities in Florida that has Jet service that I can tell except for the common runs from MIA, TPA, TLH, MCO.

what about all the smaller cities that are growing fast. (Palm Beach, Fort Pierce/Port St Lucie, St Augustine, Marathon, Panama City) I think there is alot of potential for a major carrier to start scheduled service going between alot of airports within FLorida.

What do you think?

RE: Commuter Aircraft

Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:53 am

For a turboprop it's the Saab 340

For RJ's, on reliability the CRJ, for cost the ERJ's.
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RE: Commuter Aircraft

Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:05 am

Bombardier urged to fix CRJ700
Flight International (16Mar04)

European operators of 70-seater push manufacturer to ensure reliability issues are resolved in modification package

Bombardier is coming under increasing pressure from European CRJ700 operators to ensure that its latest modification programme for the 70-seater resolves reliability issues that have dogged it since its introduction three years ago.

Air France-owned regional Brit Air, which was CRJ700 launch operator in January 2001 and has 10 in service, has delayed delivery of its remaining two orders pending an improvement in reliability, which is running at 97.5% (using a measuring system that only takes account of the initial technical failure). The reliability of the Brittany-based airline's CRJ700 fleet is such that two aircraft, rather than one, have to be held on back-up duty each day.

"RIMP-2 should fix all the problems, but it will have taken three years to resolve them," says Brit Air managing director Alain Huberdeau. But he warns that if Bombardier fails to put the aircraft right with these modifications, plans to gradually replace the airline's 19 50-seat CRJ100s with CRJ700s could be dropped. "Our preferred choice is to stay with the CRJ700, but if it continues to be a problem we could cancel our remaining orders and acquire more secondhand Fokker 100s for growth," he says, adding that six of the 50-seaters are due to leave the fleet by 2006.

Cologne-based Lufthansa CityLine, which operates 20 CRJ700s, is also pushing Bombardier to help it improve reliability, which is "around 98%", and the daily utilisation, which is 2h short of the 10h target. "We and Bombardier agree that its products need to have the same reliability as Airbus and Boeing aircraft: 99.5-99.8%," says CityLine managing director Karl-Heinz Kopfle.

Huberdeau is disappointed with the support Bombardier provides in Europe. "We can wait one, two or three days for spares or special tooling to fix a problem," he says.


Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein

RE: Commuter Aircraft

Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:43 am

CRJ-200.... Should have been clearer. I thought we were talking aircraft that would be used as a commuter (generally up to 300 NM's). Avg CRJ-700 trip is around 500 miles.

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