North American airline passengers are disenchanted with turboprop aircraft because they see them as noisy, cramped and subject to greater turbulence.

But the development of new wide-body turboprops is changing this perception, says Pierre Lortie, president of Bombardier regional aircraft division.

Speaking at Le Bourget yesterday, Lortie says that nearly half of all turboprops operating on regional routes in the US are 19-seat aircraft.

The development of aircraft such as the Dash-8 is changing the public perception. "Technological innovation such as the active NVS will mean quieter journeys - even quieter than the RJ - and the larger, heavier turboprops are much less susceptible to turbulence," he says.

"Of course if you are in a 19-seater aircraft without toilets, you will prefer to fly a different aircraft."

The larger aircraft will have the comfort that today's passengers will expect."

Lortie says Bombardier believes another 8,353 regional aircraft will be delivered over the next 20 years.

The greatest number of these will be in the long range (greater than 480km) sector where nearly 6,000 aircraft are likely to be required.

"These figures may sound high but they are in line with trends over the recent years," says Lortie.

Bombardier has moved into market leadership in the regional market with 50% of the world market in the first five months of the year - an increase of 8% over last year.

The company believes that second place in the market is shared equally between AI(R) and Embraer with 23% each.

Bombardier now has orders for 67 Canadair RJ70s. First flight is on schedule for early 1999.

- Lortie took the opportunity to announce the sale of another De Havilland Dash 8 series 300 aircraft to Austrian airline Rheintalflug Seewald Geselleschaft, for delivery in December.

Source: Flight Daily News