Bombardier is studying whether it can ramp up production of its Q400 turboprop. At present, the barrier to increasing production has nothing to do with demand and nearly everything do with supply.
That's because Bombardier is in the midst of a rather significant undertaking - transferring Q400 fuselage work from Japan to China and Belfast, explained the airframer's new president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin during an earnings conference call yesterday. "It has been a huge ramp up in a business most suppliers had given up on four years ago," he says.
Bombardier is offering a NextGen version of its Q400, which features a suite of upgrades and improvements, mainly to the cabin. No engine modifications are planned but the operating manual will be altered to improve fuel burn in certain conditions.
But what about making the 70-seat Q400 bigger? After all, isn't the regional airline industry grappling with the hard reality that bigger is better?
For some time now, Bombardier has been studying a stretched version of the Q400, dubbed the Q400X. While the firm has not yet green-lighted the programme, it seems pretty confident that there is a market for a larger model. Considering the fact that the Q400 has been doing so well, says Beaudoin, there is "great potential for that [Q400X] aircraft in the long-term". Q400 customers are "talking about it", he adds.
Separately, Beaudoin also took some time to address a recent Research Capital report that claims China Southern Airlines will become a launch customer for the proposed CSeries airliner. Check out what he said here.
Read the complete post at http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/runway-girl/2008/06/ramp-it-up-and-stretch-it-out.html
Thu, Jun 5 2008 4:05 PM
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