Bombardier has revealed plans to deliver the first dual-class Q400 turboprop this summer, to a current customer.

The airframer has "a customer that it going to introduce two-class in the not too distant future", said Commercial Aircraft president Gary Scott.

This configuration will be particularly important in North America, he said, as the Q400 is used to replace 50-seat regional jets.

Bombardier senior vice-president of aircraft programmes Eric Martel, during the Regional Airline Association event in Nashville, said the Q400 would feature 64 economy seats plus seven in first class in a three-abreast layout.

He also said the airframer planned to work with the operator to retrofit Q400s with a new first class.

Bombardier declined to disclose the identity of the customer due to receive the first two-class Q400, but United-Continental Holdings has shown interest in offering premium seats on its Q400s.

Pinnacle's Colgan Air operates 29 Q400s for United-Continental. Pinnacle senior vice-president Buddy Casey said a two-class Q400 operation at United-Continental was "in the works", and Colgan would probably start retrofitting its fleet next year.

Bombardier's rival ATR offers a two-class configuration for its 70-seat ATR 72-600, as well as a forward passenger door option, to increase the type's appeal to the North American market.

Source: Flight International