Bombardier has announced a new 90-seat variant of its Q400 turboprop at the Singapore air show, as well as other payload and maintenance enhancements, that will enter service in 2018.

The airframer says that it will move back the rear bulkhead and reconfigure the front right-hand door to accommodate an extra row of seats. The seat pitch will however remain at 28in.

No customer for the latest variant has been announced.

“We’re creating a new market segment, and we are alone in that market segment – nobody else has got a turboprop between 80 and 100 seats,” says Patrick Baudis, vice-president marketing for Bombardier.

Baudis says that initially the airframer will focus on offering the 90-seat option as a linefit, but it is studying options to offer it as a retrofit on existing Q400s.

The manufacturer has also announced a 2,000lb increase in payload for the Q400, while it will increase A-check intervals from 600 to 800 hours, and C-checks from 6,000 to 8,000 hours. Those changes will also enter service in 2018.

Bombardier launched the high-density, 86-seat variant at the 2013 Dubai air show, with Nok Air signing on as the launch customer.

Asked if the manufacturer would look at a future stretch of the aircraft, Baudis says that the focus for now is on exploiting the new niche.

“We think this is the sweet spot going forward,” he adds.

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Source: Cirium Dashboard