GE sees possible turboprop market re-entry around 2015

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General Electric foresees a 2015-plus timeframe for potential entry into service of a commercial aircraft turboprop based on its GE38 turboshaft powerplant for heavy-lift helicopters.

General manager for small commercial engines Chuck Nugent, speaking at the European Regions Airline Association conference in Barcelona, said that the company foresaw a "steady and growing market" for turboprops.

"As we look forward, we see a steady and growing market for turboprops," he says.

"We anticipate around 1,800 turboprop deliveries over the next 20 years. It is a segment of the industry that we are actively looking at.

"We are currently not in active production, but we are studying this closely and as a strategy it might work quite well."

Nugent says the company has made "significant investment" in the GE38, and is studying a derivative designated the CPX38.

"We certainly have nothing to announce, but we are in discussions with the airframers," he adds, stating that the company sees an entry timeframe of 2015 and beyond.