Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier continues to study the possibility of introducing a stretched version of its Q400 turboprop, dubbed the Q400X, but says there is “no timeline” for a decision.
“Basically we have been analysing that segment in terms of demand” and having discussions with airlines to gauge their interest in a large turboprop,” said Bombardier VP marketing Trung Ngo during a press conference this morning at the Paris air show.
He expressed the likelihood that operators “would have a need for it, but [we’re] not there yet”.
UK regional carrier Flybe recently told ATI it has held initial discussions with Bombardier over a potential stretch version of the Q400 turboprop.
Although Bombardier has not fully defined the ultimate size of the Q400X, the company believes it could offer about 90 seats if the same seat pitch as the current Q400, which seats between 74 and 78, is maintained.
The Q400X would not require an engine upgrade in any significant way, notes Ngo.
Bombardier recently launched next generation versions of its CRJ700s and CRJ900s. The aircraft incorporate features being offered on the stretched version of the CRJ900 – now called the CRJ1000 NextGen, which is scheduled to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Bombardier does not intend to make a similar-scale upgrade to its turboprop line. The Q400 has the “latest technology” and “all the newness we thought would be applicable”, says Ngo.
“We have not felt a need for change at this time,” he adds.
However, the manufacturer is considering a shortened 56- to 58-seat derivative of its current Q400. Studies are in the initial stages.