With demand for turboprops shifting toward the larger models, Bombardier is to shut down production of its smaller Q Series models and concentrate on building its 70-seat Q400 variant.

The revelation was made in a communication obtained by Flight's Commercial Aviation Online from Bombardier Regional Aircraft president Steve Ridolfi to airframer's employees, which says :"Due to a shift in demand towards larger turboprops, Bombardier Aerospace has increased the production rate of its 78-seat Q400 aircraft and will discontinue the production of its 37-seat Q200 aircraft and its 50-seat Q300 aircraft," says Ridolfi.


Bombardier has officially confirmed the decision, saying that "deliveries of existing Q200 & Q300 aircraft will continue until May 2009 when we expect all outstanding delivery commitments will be satisfied".

In Ridolfi's communication, he says: "The demand for Bombardier Toronto site products including our Q400 turboprop, Learjet 45 XR wing and Global business jet remains strong and is increasing. We will evaluate all of our options and opportunities to mitigate any potential layoffs."

During the recent earnings call Bombardier executives reiterated previous comments that studies of a larger 90-seat Q400X continue, explaining some of its customers would be excited at the prospect of a larger Q400. The move will leave ATR as the only western producer of a 50-seat turboprop, the ATR 42.

Flight's ACAS database lists 21 Q200s and Q300s on backlog, of which nine are expected to be delivered this year, 10 in 2009 and the remaining two are scheduled for 2010.

Bombardier delivered 66 Q Series in its 2007/08 fiscal year ending on 31 January, of which 47 were Q400s. The airframer's turboprop production rose by more than a third last year, and output is rising further in 2008.

Source: FlightGlobal.com