Story updated 19 December to clarify that the Q400s are expected to enter service with Island Air in 2017.

All-ATR operator Island Air will acquire three new Bombardier Q400 turboprops in the coming months, a move that follows the recently-restructured carrier's cancellation of a Q400 order a few years ago.

Bombardier announced the news, saying it has already delivered one of the three Q400s to Elix Aviation Capital Limited, an Irish company that will lease the aircraft to Island Air. The aircraft are expected to enter service in early 2017, it says.

Island Air Q400 640px


The aircraft will have 78 seats and enter service with Honolulu-based Island Air in "early 2017", the airframer says in a media release.

The manufacturer calls the type "ideal for operations in Hawaii's hot, humid, topographically diverse landscape".

"The reliable, operationally-flexible and cost-efficient Q400 turboprop is the perfect choice to take our airline to the next level," Island Air chief executive David Uchiyama says in the release. "The comprehensive support from Bombardier in acquiring the aircraft and integrating them into our network reconfirms our decision."

Island Air did not immediately provide more information to FlightGlobal, but says it intends to issue a statement later today. The news follows several years during which the carrier appears to have waffled on whether to align its future with ATRs or the Q400.

The carrier currently operates five 64-seat ATR 72-600s, but several years ago operated both ATR 72s and Dash 8-100s, according to Flight Fleet Analyzer.

In February 2013, Island Air changed hands when Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who also owns much of the Hawaiian island of Lanai, acquired the airline from Gavarnie Holding.

Under Ellison, Island Air acquired more ATRs and dumped the Dash 8s.

However, it also placed orders for new Q400s, Fleets Analyzer shows.

Then in May 2015 news broke that Island Air was restructuring in an effort to stem financially losses and to better compete with Hawaiian Airlines, which had recently launched its own ATR operation under the Ohana brand.

That restructuring included a 20% staff reduction and cancellation of the Q400 plans, according to reports.

Fleets Analyzer shows that Island Air cancelled four Q400 orders.

Then in January 2016, Island Air announced in a media release that Ellison had found a buyer for the airline and that the change in ownership would enable the airline to buy more ATRs.

Shortly after, Ellison sold Island Air to Hawaiian-based investment companies PaCap Aviation Finance and Malama Investments.

Bombardier now has received a total of 571 firm orders for Q400s, the airframer says.

Source: Cirium Dashboard