British Aerospace plans a "substantial" improvement in the short and/or hot-and-high performance of its 19-seat Jetstream Super 31 turboprop, in a bid to improve its prospects against US competitors.

Stephen O'Sullivan, executive vice-president of BAe's Asset Management - Turboprops (AMT), which is responsible for the management and re-marketing of BAe's previously-owned turboprop fleet, made his comments in a pre-show briefing at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London.

The BAe board has approved the first two phases of an overall performance improvement programme for the Super 31.

The aircraft is now only made to special order but the modifications will be available for aircraft already in service.

The enhanced aircraft should effectively provide an extra 450kg (1,000lb) of payload at high altitude airfields, allowing it to ‘win back' four of the six or seven passengers a Super 31 currently loses when operating from a typical 4,500ft (1,370m) hot-and-high runway: "It's a substantial difference to the aircraft," say O'Sullivan.

"Our goal is to ensure that the Jetstream's capabilities will be on a par with those of its main competitors in the 19-seat market."

The enhanced aircraft should be ready for customers by next year's northern summer.

The enhancement centres around a general weight reduction programme. However, much of what is being done is a paperwork exercise, says the company. "It will not require substantial modifications to the aircraft," says a spokeswoman. "It's a matter of recalculating the performance parameters."

Areas being looked at as part of the programme include nacelle drag reduction and different flap settings.

Of a total AMT portfolio of 428 aircraft, the majority being Jetstream 31s, 32s, 41s and 61s, there are currently 84 units "officially idle", says O'Sullivan.






Source: Flight Daily News