OccupiedLav
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Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:42 pm

There have been a few topics discussing the turboprop market and usage in the U.S., but I can't seem to get to the bottom of why the they are so unpopular here in the states.

As we know, turboprops are slower but far more efficient than small regional jets, and it seems like DL, AU, and AA are often complaining about the high costs of their 50 seat regional jets. On paper, turboprops seem like a viable replacement on flights around an hour long like IAH-CLL, MSP-FAR, or CLT-HXD for example. With fuel price sensitivity and environmental concerns, why are planes like the Q400 and ATR not more common on shorter routes within the U.S?

Passenger preference for jets? High costs of having a subfleet? Too slow? Pilot union/airline agreements?
 
baje427
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:47 pm

Passenger preference props were for a long time marketed as old technology and unsafe. Several US were early adopters of regional jets .Additionally regional jets have become more efficient and are more flexible operationally than props.
 
Elementalism
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:51 pm

MSP-FAR is often serviced by A320-321s. I even saw a 757-200 on the F concourse destined for Fargo.

As for props. My guess would be passenger preference for why they were replaced. On shorter routes they are fine and more efficient. But they are also loud.
 
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CPHFF
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:52 pm

This subject pops up about once a year. There are numerous post on A-net. Use the search function. It works 75% of the time
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SyracuseAvGeek
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:58 pm

Elementalism wrote:
MSP-FAR is often serviced by A320-321s. I even saw a 757-200 on the F concourse destined for Fargo.

As for props. My guess would be passenger preference for why they were replaced. On shorter routes they are fine and more efficient. But they are also loud.


For MSP-FAR on the 757’s and A320’s, Fargo is a close (or relatively close) place to RON a large aircraft if they’re trying to save room at MSP. Same reason for DL operating 737-900’s and sometimes 757’s on the GRR-DTW route.
"I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list."
 
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lightsaber
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:58 pm

Partially it is speed. If flying, why not save time? The other is fear of propellers. I know numerous people, not a majority, but enough, who dislike turboprops enough they will drive instead of flying.

Another aspect is the slow time in airports now. In the US, routes below 250nm are rare now. Between all the added delays, the fraction of short haul flying (<250nm) has plummeted. That is where turboprops thrive.

The old turboprops had vibration and noise issues. I realize ATR and the Q400 have improved the experience. There was also a media sensation on two ATR crashes. As crashes are now so rare, that spooked the public. So there is a passenger preference for jets.

RJs were also bought to capture a premium. For a while it worked. Passengers voted to pay more for RJs in the 1990s.

What turboprop market there is will be met by 9 seaters that do not require the hours.

Lightsaber
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OccupiedLav
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:59 pm

CPHFF wrote:
This subject pops up about once a year. There are numerous post on A-net. Use the search function. It works 75% of the time


I guess I got the 25%. If you have a link to a thread discussing this issue, I'd be happy to have this thread deleted.
 
ScottB
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:59 pm

OccupiedLav wrote:
With fuel price sensitivity and environmental concerns, why are planes like the Q400 and ATR not more common on shorter routes within the U.S?

Passenger preference for jets? High costs of having a subfleet? Too slow? Pilot union/airline agreements?


There are a bunch of reasons for this. Turboprops are perceived to be less safe; the last crash in the U.S. with a large loss of life was a turboprop, in spite of those aircraft being relatively rare in this country. Moreover, there was a string of fatal turboprop accidents in the early 90s which damaged public perception of those aircraft.

The slower speed of turboprops makes them relatively unsuitable for all but the shortest routes, and those flights have become far less common as roads have been improved/expanded, speed limits have been raised, and air travel has been made more inconvenient by increased security theater at the airport. You mention IAH-CLL: Improvements to U.S. 290/S.H. 6 and the upgrade of S.H. 249 to the Aggie Expressway may very well kill that particular route as driving between Bryan/College Station and IAH will ultimately be more cost-effective and take no more time than flying. Moreover, the lower cruise altitude of turboprops makes them uncomfortable in poor weather, especially thunderstorms. Nothing makes a flight more pleasant than having to puke in a bag!

The economics, even with lower fuel burn, just don't work in today's market. There's a shortage of people with an ATP who are willing to work for low pay in the regional space. Pay more and the economics don't work. And higher crew productivity on regional jets, thanks to the greater speed, can tip the economics back in favor of the jets in spite of the increased fuel burn. The real issue with 50-seat jets isn't the non-labor cost of operating the aircraft; it is that the low wages needed to make 50-seat flying more widely viable don't attract enough workers to the jobs.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:00 pm

OccupiedLav wrote:
As we know, turboprops are slower but far more efficient than small regional jets...


Can you point to a fuel burn comparison (500 sm stage length?) of a 70-76-seat 2-class RJ (say a CR9 or E75) with a relevant prop? 50-seaters have little future in the U.S. market.
 
OccupiedLav
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:09 pm

lightsaber wrote:
Partially it is speed. If flying, why not save time? The other is fear of propellers. I know numerous people, not a majority, but enough, who dislike turboprops enough they will drive instead of flying.


On short routes, does the difference in speed really matter that much? I imagine on some routes the regional jets don't have enough time to reach higher altitudes and cruising speeds, so the turboprops wouldn't really take that much longer to reach the destination. I could be wrong. Time sensitivity is very crucial.

As far as passenger aversion to propellers, couldn't some marketing/education on the safety and efficiency of turboprops solve the problem? Ex.: "Our new jet powered turboprops get our passengers to their destinations using 25% (don't know the exact number) less fuel than traditional regional jets"
 
sargester
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:10 pm

They are slow... time is money... jets are fast... happy business people
 
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PITingres
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:18 pm

OccupiedLav wrote:
On short routes, does the difference in speed really matter that much?


Not really, but the point is that for any trip where driving takes less than about 5 hours, it's no faster to fly (prop or jet) than drive, at least in the US. That reduces the market for those short routes. For me, that's PIT-PHL, PIT-DTW, PIT-DC area, and the like. PIT-NYC is just outside of the driving-preferred radius, at least for me.
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OccupiedLav
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:18 pm

ScottB wrote:
The economics, even with lower fuel burn, just don't work in today's market. There's a shortage of people with an ATP who are willing to work for low pay in the regional space. Pay more and the economics don't work. And higher crew productivity on regional jets, thanks to the greater speed, can tip the economics back in favor of the jets in spite of the increased fuel burn. The real issue with 50-seat jets isn't the non-labor cost of operating the aircraft; it is that the low wages needed to make 50-seat flying more widely viable don't attract enough workers to the jobs.


This is a good point. I was wondering how airlines would persuade pilots to fly turboprops. Correct me if I'm wrong but not gaining jet time could be a major issue with the pilots flying turboprops.
 
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par13del
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:27 pm

OccupiedLav wrote:
This is a good point. I was wondering how airlines would persuade pilots to fly turboprops. Correct me if I'm wrong but not gaining jet time could be a major issue with the pilots flying turboprops.

A good question would be how many of today's pilots learned to fly in jets, never a prop.
 
OccupiedLav
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:28 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
OccupiedLav wrote:
As we know, turboprops are slower but far more efficient than small regional jets...


Can you point to a fuel burn comparison (500 sm stage length?) of a 70-76-seat 2-class RJ (say a CR9 or E75) with a relevant prop? 50-seaters have little future in the U.S. market.


I can't point to any specific data. Maybe someone else can. I would be interested to see the numbers. From what I understand, the E175 and Crj9s would be more economical on a per passenger basis than a 50 seat turboprop depending on the route. But that's kind of apples to oranges. I suspect a larger turboprop would change that though.
 
TUSDawg23
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:42 pm

1. Most communities in the Contiguous US that can support some kind of regular air service have long enough runways that can support a jet over a turboprop.
2. People want a consistent product. Most people don't know the difference between United and United Express because you are still flying a jet, albeit a smaller one.
3. Noise
4. Jets have longer range than turboprops and this gives them more flexibility to put them on long and thin routes that may not make economical sense on a turboprop.
5. The regional airlines in an effort to cut costs want to have one fleet type across the board and it's expensive trying to have both turboprops and jets in the fleet(QX is one of the few that still does).
 
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ChrisNH38
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:48 pm

I think instances of wing icing on turboprops have been frequent enough to scare people away. They just can't fly high enough to avoid ice altogether, especially in the northern states.
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OccupiedLav
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:00 pm

ChrisNH38 wrote:
I think instances of wing icing on turboprops have been frequent enough to scare people away. They just can't fly high enough to avoid ice altogether, especially in the northern states.


If this is the case, why are they more popular with Canadian airlines? Air Canada, Westjet, Porter...
 
DarthLobster
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:04 pm

par13del wrote:
OccupiedLav wrote:
This is a good point. I was wondering how airlines would persuade pilots to fly turboprops. Correct me if I'm wrong but not gaining jet time could be a major issue with the pilots flying turboprops.

A good question would be how many of today's pilots learned to fly in jets, never a prop.


I don’t know of any pilots that started off learning in jets.
 
timeless159
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:05 pm

Scope. Regional flying is limited by block hour ratios and number of aircraft. You can fly more revenue seat miles with cheap regional pilot labor in a jet then a turboprop. Regional pilots earn about 1/3 the pay that mainline pilots earn. Not 1/3 less. One third.
 
bgm
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:11 pm

TUSDawg23 wrote:
1. Most communities in the Contiguous US that can support some kind of regular air service have long enough runways that can support a jet over a turboprop.
2. People want a consistent product. Most people don't know the difference between United and United Express because you are still flying a jet, albeit a smaller one.
3. Noise
4. Jets have longer range than turboprops and this gives them more flexibility to put them on long and thin routes that may not make economical sense on a turboprop.
5. The regional airlines in an effort to cut costs want to have one fleet type across the board and it's expensive trying to have both turboprops and jets in the fleet(QX is one of the few that still does).


6. Jets can fly higher, avoiding bad weather.
OK boomer.
 
WaywardMemphian
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:13 pm

Doesn'/ the now (new) Dehavilland Q400's have near jet like speed? I read recently they were eying what United did with the CRJ 550 and possibly pitching a similarly laid out turboprop as a more economical choice as more US based 50 seater rjs are retired.

Some things have happened since the trend away from Turboprops.

The cotinued growth of the LCC leasure market with Frontier/Spirit/Allegiant shows for some price trumps everything.

While more roads have been built and speed limits raise. It doesn't help much on heavy freight routes with governed trucks trying to pass each other plus there are still bottlenecks and congestion in the urban centers. You see this in the success of Allegiant's VPS service. Long thought of as a "drive to" location.

I have thought someone like Amazon and maybe even FedEx(already has ATR birds) of using combi versions of the planes to drastically cut out the time from DC to doorstep to drastically increase same day and overnight delivery options in the ever growing internet sales fulfillment department. With the mixture of passengers and cargo play off of each other and differing costs. Even replace a bit of LTL shipping.
 
MEA-707
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:15 pm

Scott nailed it. Given how few props there are flying in the USA, a few high profile accidents like the American Eagle ATR in 1994, Colgan DHC-8 in 2009 but also some smaller ones like the CoG Beech 1900 early 2000s and the Chalks Mallard in 2005 were props. In Europe or Asia, by far the most notorious and well known crashes were jets. I noticed when I was flying within the USA that people can react nervously. I had a J-41 flight in 2002 on JFK-IAD and one pax deboarded because she was scared (expected a jet on that route).Would not have happened in Europe.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
Nils75cz
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:17 pm

Back in 1992 I flew in a shorts 360 from Raleigh to Charlottesville. As a Swede I was shocked such tin cans were still operating for revenue. Business is business, if you can get away with it, the cheapest way possible is the right path. I guess the American consumer nowadays would refuse to board such a machine. It wasn't always that way.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:19 pm

DarthLobster wrote:
par13del wrote:
OccupiedLav wrote:
This is a good point. I was wondering how airlines would persuade pilots to fly turboprops. Correct me if I'm wrong but not gaining jet time could be a major issue with the pilots flying turboprops.

A good question would be how many of today's pilots learned to fly in jets, never a prop.


I don’t know of any pilots that started off learning in jets.


Every US military pilot prior to the T-6 EIS in early 2000s.

GF
 
XaraB
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:22 pm

Two very specific American factors:
1) Scope clauses. Terrible invention, terrible implementation.
2) Americans loathe anything efficient, as it isn't "proper equipment". Let me mention: 4 cylinder engines, diesel, hybrids, electric stuff, copper wiring... Because of an abundance of everything, I suspect efficiency was never really required in America, and now it has become cultural.
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JayinKitsap
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:32 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
OccupiedLav wrote:
As we know, turboprops are slower but far more efficient than small regional jets...


Can you point to a fuel burn comparison (500 sm stage length?) of a 70-76-seat 2-class RJ (say a CR9 or E75) with a relevant prop? 50-seaters have little future in the U.S. market.



This thread has a good bit of information on the Q400 and ATR's
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1423945&hilit=q400
 
peterinlisbon
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:50 pm

Where I have seen turboprops have a lot of success is in countries where the distances are short but the roads are bad. For example, Costa Rica is a small country but it is very mountainous and it can take 8 hours to go 200km. So the turboprops flying to small airstrips can offer an alternative to those that can afford it. Obviously in the US, you could just drive 200km in an hour and a half so it's no contest. Another place where turboprops are popular is for services between small islands.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:56 pm

lightsaber wrote:
Partially it is speed. If flying, why not save time? The other is fear of propellers. I know numerous people, not a majority, but enough, who dislike turboprops enough they will drive instead of flying.

Another aspect is the slow time in airports now. In the US, routes below 250nm are rare now. Between all the added delays, the fraction of short haul flying (<250nm) has plummeted. That is where turboprops thrive.
...

What turboprop market there is will be met by 9 seaters that do not require the hours.

Lightsaber


A great real example is Horizon Air, the Alaska regional, flying from SEA to Spokane, WA. $84 ea way 1 hr 5 min on Q400 for 284 mile by driving distance, expected by google to take 4.5 hours.

To fly I drive 1h10 min to airport, 20 min to park car, 1.5 hours at airport. Fly 1h5. At Spokane 1 hr in arrival and car rental. 1 hour drive to actual site. 6h10 min to get to destination.

To Drive 5h8 from home to Spokane Airport 329 miles, still 1 hour to site for same travel time. No plane fare, no $30/day parking at SEA, no car rental. Same time. I can pick the time I leave to match the appointment, possibly drive the night before and stay near the destination. Flying would need to save me at least 2 hours before I would consider it.
 
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United787
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:09 pm

I would put a lot of it on AA 4184, the 25th anniversary which is coming up in two days on Halloween. I remember the night clearly because I was living in Champaign, IL at the time and we tried trick or treating in the same storm, it was a horrible night.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_ ... light_4184

The airlines reaction to the crash, particularly AA, sending their ATRs to Puerto Rico and Miami etc, only reinforced the idea that the turboprops were unsafe. At that moment, I think it was embedded into the minds of Americans that Turboprops were unsafe, deserved or not.

Also, the CRJ-200 had just been introduced two years earlier and the ERJ-145 first flight was less than a year later. So the RJ boom began. Again, I remember the airlines touting their new regional jets as an 'upgrade' to the turboprops. One airline, I can't remember which, I think would advertise "all jet service" or something similar. The airlines were basically saying: "we know you don't want to fly on those inferior unsafe turboprops, so we are only using jets at ORD"...

I doubt speed has much to do with it. For most turboprop distances, the extra time is not the much. I just flew Porter YTZ-MDW and the flight was comfortable and didn't feel any longer than the UA 737 I had taken ORD-YYZ I had taken two days earlier.
Last edited by United787 on Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
N766UA
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:10 pm

Because they suck for passengers. Even the Q400, the epitome of the modern, "quiet" turboprop, is far noisier and exhibits far more vibration than an RJ. They also sit down in the weather where the ride is rougher AND take longer to get you where you're going!
 
ScottB
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:53 pm

OccupiedLav wrote:
This is a good point. I was wondering how airlines would persuade pilots to fly turboprops. Correct me if I'm wrong but not gaining jet time could be a major issue with the pilots flying turboprops.


AFAIK, "gaining jet time" might only be a consideration when applying to the mainline carriers, but the requirements are generally for turbine time, not "jet" time. Turboprops are turbine engines so the hours count.

OccupiedLav wrote:
couldn't some marketing/education on the safety and efficiency of turboprops solve the problem? Ex.: "Our new jet powered turboprops get our passengers to their destinations using 25% (don't know the exact number) less fuel than traditional regional jets"


How do you propose to do this in a market where options are generally presented by price in online booking engines? And why would airlines take that risk in exchange for little or no economic benefit?

WaywardMemphian wrote:
While more roads have been built and speed limits raise. It doesn't help much on heavy freight routes with governed trucks trying to pass each other plus there are still bottlenecks and congestion in the urban centers. You see this in the success of Allegiant's VPS service. Long thought of as a "drive to" location.


Very few of G4's routes from VPS fit in the category where driving is time-competitive with flying -- maybe MEM/BNA/TYS. We're not seeing them offer flights from places like JAN/MGM/BHM/MSY/JAX/ATL to VPS. And they're also not in the business of operating aircraft with fewer than 100 seats so they're not exactly in the segment of the market we're discussing.

XaraB wrote:
2) Americans loathe anything efficient, as it isn't "proper equipment". Let me mention: 4 cylinder engines, diesel, hybrids, electric stuff, copper wiring... Because of an abundance of everything, I suspect efficiency was never really required in America, and now it has become cultural.


Um, no. Pretty much this is all about perceived safety and comfort, not about "loath[ing] anything efficient." In what country is the largest manufacturer of EVs? Fact is that anthropogenic climate change religion is a relatively recent development, and it takes decades to replace existing infrastructure.

United787 wrote:
One airline, I can't remember which, I think would advertise "all jet service"


DL made a fair amount of noise when CVG became an all-jet hub, and CO also promoted its all-jet service once its last turboprops in the continental U.S. had exited the fleet or been moved to GUM.
 
jbpdx
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:54 pm

Alaska/Horizon flies Q400s from PDX to GEG, BOI, SEA, YVR, MFR, RDM, MSO, SMF. Jazz flies Q400s PDX-YVR. Westjet flies Q400s PDX-YYC.
Major airports with no PDX nonstops: MIA, FLL, TPA, IND, MSY, CLE, CVG, PIT, RDU; +BWI, +PHL, +YYZ
 
OccupiedLav
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:24 pm

ScottB wrote:
OccupiedLav wrote:
couldn't some marketing/education on the safety and efficiency of turboprops solve the problem? Ex.: "Our new jet powered turboprops get our passengers to their destinations using 25% (don't know the exact number) less fuel than traditional regional jets"


How do you propose to do this in a market where options are generally presented by price in online booking engines? And why would airlines take that risk in exchange for little or no economic benefit?


From https://thepointsguy.com/news/why-arent-more-turboprop-planes-flying-in-the-us/The%20Points%20Guy:
'“We took on an educational role in our start-up phase (in 2006) by promoting the aircraft’s benefits. Once people tried it, this became a non-issue,” said Porter’s Brad Cicero in an email to TPG. “Self-interested parties, whether manufacturers or other airlines, have tried to dismiss turboprops over the years,” he said. “One of our competitors initially did so as a transparent attempt to dissuade passengers from considering flying with us. It didn’t work and now this competitor happens to be one of the largest Q400 operators in the world.”'

Brad Cicero is the director of communications and public affairs at Porter.
 
ScottB
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:40 pm

OccupiedLav wrote:
'“We took on an educational role in our start-up phase (in 2006) by promoting the aircraft’s benefits. Once people tried it, this became a non-issue,” said Porter’s Brad Cicero in an email to TPG. “Self-interested parties, whether manufacturers or other airlines, have tried to dismiss turboprops over the years,” he said. “One of our competitors initially did so as a transparent attempt to dissuade passengers from considering flying with us. It didn’t work and now this competitor happens to be one of the largest Q400 operators in the world.”'


Porter is a bit of a special case. Their entire business model is predicated upon the convenience of YTZ vs. YYZ. And... jets aren't allowed at YTZ. Further, the Q400 is a Canadian-made product and the demographic which flies to/from YTZ is more likely to be aware of the jet's provenance. There is value in the Canadian market when your business actively supports Canadian manufacturing jobs -- akin to why a SEA-hubbed airline would paint "proudly all-Boeing" on its fleet.

One should also consider that it's not entirely clear PD is even a profitable enterprise.
 
dcaviation
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:41 pm

MEA-707 wrote:
Scott nailed it. Given how few props there are flying in the USA, a few high profile accidents like the American Eagle ATR in 1994, Colgan DHC-8 in 2009 but also some smaller ones like the CoG Beech 1900 early 2000s and the Chalks Mallard in 2005 were props. In Europe or Asia, by far the most notorious and well known crashes were jets. I noticed when I was flying within the USA that people can react nervously. I had a J-41 flight in 2002 on JFK-IAD and one pax deboarded because she was scared (expected a jet on that route).Would not have happened in Europe.


You forgot big one at CLT. In 2003 USAirways Express opb Air Midwest B1900 crashed on take off.

For me is opposite. I'm avoiding turboprops in Asia like a plague. TransAsia ATR crash coming to mind first.
Young pilots are starting there on props and they are the ones that make deadly mistakes.

Just few examples of prop crashes in Asia in the last 3 years.

2017 Major prop crashes in Asia
Myanmar Air Force - Shaanxi Y-8
Khabarovsk Airlines Flight 463 - Let 410
Summit Air (Nepal) Flight 409 - Let 410

2018
Air Vanuatu Flight 241 - ATR-72
Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 3704 - ATR-72
US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211 - DHC-8
Russian Air Force - An-26

2019
Angara Airlines Flight 200 - An-24
Biman Bangladesh Flight 60 - DHC-8
Indian Air Force - An-32
 
Bostrom
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:03 pm

DarthLobster wrote:
par13del wrote:
OccupiedLav wrote:
This is a good point. I was wondering how airlines would persuade pilots to fly turboprops. Correct me if I'm wrong but not gaining jet time could be a major issue with the pilots flying turboprops.

A good question would be how many of today's pilots learned to fly in jets, never a prop.


I don’t know of any pilots that started off learning in jets.


I know this is a thread about the US, but in my part of the world those who learn to fly in the Air Force start off in jets.
 
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DocLightning
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:08 pm

ScottB wrote:
The slower speed of turboprops makes them relatively unsuitable for all but the shortest routes, and those flights have become far less common as roads have been improved/expanded, speed limits have been raised, and air travel has been made more inconvenient by increased security theater at the airport.


Not only that, but in the United States, the population tends to be concentrated in the vicinity of urban centers on the large scale, while on the small scale, the population is spread out more (most stand-alone houses have yards that surround them). By contrast, in Europe, small and medium-sized towns are scattered all over the land, but within those towns, people live very close to each-other. This means that a greater proportion of Americans have cars and that the radius served by a major airport in the US might be quite a bit larger than in Europe.

But turboprops still get used here. I flew one BZN-SEA, for example. I flew one PDX-SFO. And the ASE-DEN route is mostly Q400s.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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ukoverlander
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:08 pm

CPHFF wrote:
This subject pops up about once a year. There are numerous post on A-net. Use the search function. It works 75% of the time


Grumble, grumble........

Once a year seem infrequent enough to merit a new thread. Others who are new to the subject might also want to contribute something. If you don't want to contribute move on to the next topic - Anet is a discussion forum, not a reference library (although it does have a large fiction section!).
Last edited by ukoverlander on Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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par13del
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:13 pm

DarthLobster wrote:
par13del wrote:
OccupiedLav wrote:
This is a good point. I was wondering how airlines would persuade pilots to fly turboprops. Correct me if I'm wrong but not gaining jet time could be a major issue with the pilots flying turboprops.

A good question would be how many of today's pilots learned to fly in jets, never a prop.


I don’t know of any pilots that started off learning in jets.

Exactly, so the technology that is used to train pilots is not good enough for pax?
Does make you wonder why only the military uses jet trainers, if it is an industry thing.
 
strfyr51
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:14 pm

In the USA jets are perceived to be faster and safer. People will still fly a turboprop if there is no other way to get there but jets are preferred.
 
Bostrom
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:16 pm

ScottB wrote:
In what country is the largest manufacturer of EVs?


China.
 
luckyone
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:20 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
Partially it is speed. If flying, why not save time? The other is fear of propellers. I know numerous people, not a majority, but enough, who dislike turboprops enough they will drive instead of flying.

Another aspect is the slow time in airports now. In the US, routes below 250nm are rare now. Between all the added delays, the fraction of short haul flying (<250nm) has plummeted. That is where turboprops thrive.
...

What turboprop market there is will be met by 9 seaters that do not require the hours.

Lightsaber


A great real example is Horizon Air, the Alaska regional, flying from SEA to Spokane, WA. $84 ea way 1 hr 5 min on Q400 for 284 mile by driving distance, expected by google to take 4.5 hours.

To fly I drive 1h10 min to airport, 20 min to park car, 1.5 hours at airport. Fly 1h5. At Spokane 1 hr in arrival and car rental. 1 hour drive to actual site. 6h10 min to get to destination.

To Drive 5h8 from home to Spokane Airport 329 miles, still 1 hour to site for same travel time. No plane fare, no $30/day parking at SEA, no car rental. Same time. I can pick the time I leave to match the appointment, possibly drive the night before and stay near the destination. Flying would need to save me at least 2 hours before I would consider it.

Just out of curiosity, does that require a ferry ride or do you go around via the Narrows?
 
PhilMcCrackin
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:27 pm

MEA-707 wrote:
Scott nailed it. Given how few props there are flying in the USA, a few high profile accidents like the American Eagle ATR in 1994, Colgan DHC-8 in 2009 but also some smaller ones like the CoG Beech 1900 early 2000s and the Chalks Mallard in 2005 were props. In Europe or Asia, by far the most notorious and well known crashes were jets. I noticed when I was flying within the USA that people can react nervously. I had a J-41 flight in 2002 on JFK-IAD and one pax deboarded because she was scared (expected a jet on that route).Would not have happened in Europe.


ASA 529 in 1995 was especially bad. Not only was it the second crash for the EMB120 because of propeller issues, but the manner in which the deceased perished was especially awful. Everyone survived the impact, but there were several onboard including the pilot that burnt to death after they couldn't get out.
 
rbavfan
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:55 pm

dcaviation wrote:
MEA-707 wrote:
Scott nailed it. Given how few props there are flying in the USA, a few high profile accidents like the American Eagle ATR in 1994, Colgan DHC-8 in 2009 but also some smaller ones like the CoG Beech 1900 early 2000s and the Chalks Mallard in 2005 were props. In Europe or Asia, by far the most notorious and well known crashes were jets. I noticed when I was flying within the USA that people can react nervously. I had a J-41 flight in 2002 on JFK-IAD and one pax deboarded because she was scared (expected a jet on that route).Would not have happened in Europe.


You forgot big one at CLT. In 2003 USAirways Express opb Air Midwest B1900 crashed on take off.

For me is opposite. I'm avoiding turboprops in Asia like a plague. TransAsia ATR crash coming to mind first.
Young pilots are starting there on props and they are the ones that make deadly mistakes.

Just few examples of prop crashes in Asia in the last 3 years.

2017 Major prop crashes in Asia
Myanmar Air Force - Shaanxi Y-8
Khabarovsk Airlines Flight 463 - Let 410
Summit Air (Nepal) Flight 409 - Let 410

2018
Air Vanuatu Flight 241 - ATR-72
Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 3704 - ATR-72
US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211 - DHC-8
Russian Air Force - An-26

2019
Angara Airlines Flight 200 - An-24
Biman Bangladesh Flight 60 - DHC-8
Indian Air Force - An-32


1st Air force crashes are not the same and should not be used. 2nd several of your examples are airlines with poor safety records due to lax regulations. So lets see some examples from mainline airlines that fly props. Because there are a lot of props flyng around the world that are not crashing. The ATR & Dash 8 series have quit a good record over the years.
 
rbavfan
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:58 pm

lightsaber wrote:
Partially it is speed. If flying, why not save time? The other is fear of propellers. I know numerous people, not a majority, but enough, who dislike turboprops enough they will drive instead of flying.

Another aspect is the slow time in airports now. In the US, routes below 250nm are rare now. Between all the added delays, the fraction of short haul flying (<250nm) has plummeted. That is where turboprops thrive.

The old turboprops had vibration and noise issues. I realize ATR and the Q400 have improved the experience. There was also a media sensation on two ATR crashes. As crashes are now so rare, that spooked the public. So there is a passenger preference for jets.

RJs were also bought to capture a premium. For a while it worked. Passengers voted to pay more for RJs in the 1990s.

What turboprop market there is will be met by 9 seaters that do not require the hours.

Lightsaber



P2012 comes to mind. Impressive so far. Been a long weight for the Cessna replacement.
 
rbavfan
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:17 pm

OccupiedLav wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
Partially it is speed. If flying, why not save time? The other is fear of propellers. I know numerous people, not a majority, but enough, who dislike turboprops enough they will drive instead of flying.


On short routes, does the difference in speed really matter that much? I imagine on some routes the regional jets don't have enough time to reach higher altitudes and cruising speeds, so the turboprops wouldn't really take that much longer to reach the destination. I could be wrong. Time sensitivity is very crucial.

As far as passenger aversion to propellers, couldn't some marketing/education on the safety and efficiency of turboprops solve the problem? Ex.: "Our new jet powered turboprops get our passengers to their destinations using 25% (don't know the exact number) less fuel than traditional regional jets"


A lot of cases the 2-35 min makes no difference
 
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NOLAWildcat
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:19 pm

In addition to the well-documented aversion to props the American flying public has, I’d also suspect that given the large size of the US and the large network of medium-haul, thin routes flown out of hubs by the US regionals, the regionals (with the notable exception of Horizon) have determined the added fleet flexibility afforded by the increased speed and range of a CRJ or a EMB-175 vs. a ATR-72 or a Q400 is worth abusing the faster RJs on short hops vs. maintaining a dedicated subfleet of props.

The Skywest E175 flight I recently rode on the 180 mile flight from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake City immediately turned around for a flight to Oklahoma City. An ATR is not going to be able to be competitive on such a turn.

As others had mentioned, TSA has killed the short haul market under 250 miles or so—most flights of that length these days flown by the regionals are for connections at the nearest hub rather than for folks flying to the hub itself—just makes more sense to drive, particularly in a country where many don’t think twice about driving 3-4 hours on the highway. The death of the smaller props of the EMB-120 or Saab 340 size in the US outside of Alaska is evidence of that.
 
jworks158
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:49 pm

I think the Cessna Sky Courier will be an interesting add to this market.

https://cessna.txtav.com/en/turboprop/skycourier
(A359,A343/A346,A332,A319/320/321,A220-100)(B788,B772,B762,B752,B744/B748,B732/B737/B738,B717)(E190,E145)(CRJ100/200, Dash 8-200)(MD-83)
JB,UA(C5,EV,CHQ,AX),AA(EGF,ZW,AX,PT),DL(OH,YX),FL,WN,LH,BA,AF,AZ,IB,VX,CO
https://my.flightradar24.com/theorangetechie
 
Airimages
Posts: 110
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Re: Why are turboprops so unpopular in the US?

Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:52 pm

This one is very very popular in the US - and even single:

https://youtu.be/xJJ49JM7aRQ

Jerome

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