As Frontier Airlines hints it wants to expand the number of Bombardier Q400 turboprops in its fleet, Horizon Air may defer 11 Q400s scheduled for delivery next year.

The Seattle-based carrier "is in discussions with Bombardier" about postponing Q400 deliveries as it focuses on remarketing its Bombardier CRJ700s, Horizon says in regulatory filing.

Horizon plans to shed two of the regional jets by year-end, and remove 18 remaining aircraft within two years. But the carrier cautions fleet reductions are dependent on its ability to remarket the -700s.

Potential deferrals come as the regional removes 10 remaining Q200s from service by the end of October. The 37-seat aircraft are also being retired in favour of 74- and 76-seat O400s.

The company had 34 Q400s, as of 30 September. Alaska Airlines' sister carrier still intends to take delivery of three Q400s by the end of this year.

If Horizon does not reach a deal with Bombardier to defer the aircraft, it will end 2009 with 48 Q400s.

Earlier this week Frontier CEO Sean Menke disclosed the carrier was examining picking up additional Q400s. The carrier's Lynx subsidiary operates the 74-seat aircraft.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news