Bombardier is managing to bolster the dwindling Dash 8 Q400 orderbook with Japanese carrier Nakanihon Airlines entering exclusive talks to buy four aircraft and All Nippon Airways (ANA) signing for a similar number. Nakanihon, 20% owned by ANA, says it is considering ordering Q400s to replace its four Fokker 50 turboprops. The airline is based at Nagoya and flies to several domestic points. In a separate deal ANA has ordered four Q400s for its regional subsidiary Air Nippon Network (A-Net).

The first of the 70-seat high-speed turboprops will enter service with A-net in late 2003 on the Osaka-Kochi route. When all four Q400s have been received 15 daily roundtrips will be offered. A-net parent and ANA group airline Air Nippon currently flies the route seven times a day with Airbus A320s and Boeing 737-500s. "ANA's aim is to develop a new business using landing slots appropriated for propeller aircraft at Osaka's Itami airport. The Dash 8 Q400 is the best match for the job," says ANA president and CEO Yoji Ohashi.

Source: Flight International