Buoyed by the resurgent turboprop market, Bombardier is considering a shortened 56- to 58-seat derivative of its 76-seat Q400 in conjunction with existing studies into a stretched 90-seat version dubbed the Q400X.

Although Bombardier is keen to stress that studies are "at the first phase", Steve Ridolfi, president of its regional aircraft business, believes the Q400X could be the "beginning of a new product line", based on the type's improved cockpit and engine technology over earlier, smaller versions of the Dash 8 turboprop family. "There is potential to do much more," Ridolfi said at a media briefing held last week in Belfast.

A smaller version of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A-powered Q400 would effectively be a substitute for the slower-selling 50-seat Q300 introduced in 1988, which has less-powerful PW123B engines and an old-generation glass cockpit.

Source: Flight International