Is the 19 seater market dead? If I am correct the only 19 seater still in production is the Beachcraft 1900D. Any others? The Jetstream31/32 and Do 228 and others below are out of production, right? Any body knows?
Apparently the Metro23 is still in production, as listed on the Fairchild-Dornier site at http://www.faidor.com/aircraft/regional/turboprops/metro23/metro.htm. Other than that, I know the Jetstream family is out of production for about 2 years, and I know the DeHavilland Twin Otter has been out of production for more than 10 years, but the DHC-6 was as much of a bush plane as it was airliner. Also, one other note is that some small airline have been going for 10 seat Pilatus PC-12's, so although that's smaller maybe it belongs here as a replacement for some older Metroliners, etc. Still, I guess the 19 seat market isn't as lucrative as it was once thought to be, with regional airline going like crazy for RJ's and ignoring the smaller commuter operations nowadays.
The 19 seat market is not dead, although it may appear so with so many regional airlines realigning their fleets.
What is happening is that with the regionals getting larger airplanes and carrying heavier passenger loads, they are abandoning the smaller markets. This is creating another tier of airlines which are not quite nationals but not regionals either... "super regionals" if you will. Some "regional" airlines such as Comair and ASA have achieved national status.
The markets that these airlines have left have not disappeared, they've grown if anything. It is simply impossible to profitably to serve many of these cities with regional jets. And remember, federal law mandates that every city in the US not be greater than 2 hours from commercial air trasportation (Essential Air Service or EAS)
I think what you will see in the next few years is an influx of new players into the airline world. These airlines will take the smaller markets and EAS destinations left behind by larger airlines. This is already happening in some places, such as Corporate Express out of STL. For a historical precident, look to the late 1940's and early 1950's where a very similar industry shift took place.
What will this mean for the future of the 19 seat airplane? Hard to say. As turboprop aircraft have become more efficient, larger airplanes in the 30-48 seat range could be operated quite profitably out of many of these destinations.
there are also allot of J32's and older 1900's floating around out there that would work just fine and be cheaper than new airplanes. Allot of what happens manufacturing wise depends of external factors such as population shift and macroeconomic forces.