RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT has shelved plans to develop a new regional airliner to supersede or supplement its Beech 1900D 19-seat turboprop.

Chairman Art Wegner reveals that the company has studied a 30-seat regional jet, but decided "about a year ago" not to proceed with the project. He dismisses rumours that an airliner derivative of the new Hawker Horizon business jet could be developed. Wegner believes that the regional-jet market is too competitive and that it would be difficult to make a profit on a 30-seater. The firm has no intention of participating in another manufacturer's regional-jet programme, he says, although it has been approached.

Instead, Wegner adds, Raytheon will continue to produce the 1900D for the foreseeable future. Production has been cut from the peak of around 60 in 1996 to 36 a year, which Wegner believes is the sustainable rate.

The continuing 1900D market is mainly to replace 19-seaters, including earlier 1900s now in service, he says. Wegner does not expect further large orders, such as those from Continental Express and Mesa Airlines, which boosted production in recent years. "It's now a matter of selling them in twos and threes," he says.

There are no near-term plans to improve or replace the 1900D, which Wegner expects to continue selling for several more years. The company now has the market for new 19-seaters almost to itself, following Fairchild Dornier's decision to shelve development of a Metro 23 derivative with a stand-up cabin.


Source: Flight International