Alan Peaford

Horizon Air has become the North American launch customer of Bombardier's Q400 in a $321-million deal announced at the show yesterday.

The Seattle-based airline placed a firm order for 15 of the super quiet 70-passenger aircraft with options on an additional 15.

Bombardier announced a further two Q400 sales to SAS Commuter, taking the total for the Danish airline to 19.

Glenn Johnson, CFO and vice president of Horizon, came to Paris to sign the deal. He says the airline will use 12 of the 15 new aircraft to replace older 37-seat Dash 8 series and the other three for route expansion.

"The options we hold will also leave us in a good position for expansion," says Johnson. Horizon will also use the Q400 on routes currently serviced by their Fokker F28s.

"The Q400 provides a winning combination: the speed and comfort of a jet and the economics of a turboprop," says George Bagley, president and CEO of Horizon. "We have been very impressed with the economics of the Q400 and the flexibility its 70 seats bring to our network.


The 350-knot cruise speed means more productivity, and it features the noise and vibration suppression system which has proven to be popular on our Q200 aircraft."

It is this noise surpression system that gives the aircraft its 'Q' tag. During certification the testing of the system has shown significant noise reduction beyond any other turboprop aircraft.

Bombardier claims the Q400 will also the lowest seat-mile cost in its class at 6ó. Breakeven is 22 passengers, which allows great flexibility on route economics.

The Q400 programme was given a further boost yesterday when Bombardier announced it has been awarded its Transport Canada type certificate.

Bombardier Aerospace engineering director John Holding reports that the test aircraft had accumulated more than 1,900 flight hours and has exceeded its original performance expectations in several key areas.

The Q400 deliveries will begin in the fourth quarter of this year with deliveries to UNI Airways of Taiwan. The order book now stands at 125 aircraft.

Source: Flight Daily News