Bombardier is considering offering extra capacity versions of the Q400 turboprop to airlines, vice-president of marketing Philippe Poutissou confirms to Flightglobal Pro.
The high-density configuration has gained interest from several airlines, including Canadian carrier WestJet Encore and Nigeria’s Arik Air.
The new design can be accommodated within the existing structure of the aircraft, including the baseline Q400’s doors for egress and lavatory provisioning, says Philippe Poutissou, Bombardier’s vice-president of marketing.
Westjet chief executive Gregg Saretsky says it has discussed several options for increasing the number of seats in the Q400 with Bombardier.
WestJet Encore, which has received six of 20 Q400s on firm order, operates the aircraft in a 78-seat, single-class layout, Saretsky says.
Bombardier has discussed options for increasing capacity to 82 seats, 84 seats or 86 seats, he adds.
“We’ll have to see if it makes sense,” Saretsky says.
Arik Air chief executive Michael Arumeni-Ikhide agrees that a high-density Q400 could be an attractive option.
“From a cost-per-seat perspective the Q400 is an extremely attractive aircraft,” Arumeni-Ikhide says. “So if we can increase the capacity and still improve on the economics we are quite keen to look at it.”
Another Q400 operator, Ethiopian Airlines, recognises that more seats on an aircraft translates into more revenue, but other considerations make an order unlikely, says chief operating officer Mesfin Tassew.
“The type of passengers we have need more cargo space,” he says. “So I don’t think we’ll go to a more-density seat configuration of the Q400.”