Carrier discusses Dash 8 deal for Piedmont division

US Airways may replace one of its feeder airlines' large fleet of Bombardier Dash 8s with the new-generation Q Series models, providing further evidence of a revival in the US turboprop market.

According to a newsletter from the US major to its employees, published earlier this month, US Airways is in preliminary talks with Bombardier over a potential order for Dash 8 Q300s and Q400s.

The aircraft are being studied as possible replacements for the older-generation Dash 8s in operation at US Airways regional subsidiary Piedmont Airlines, which according to Flight's ACAS database operates 72 Dash 8s - 48 -100s, 12 Q200s and 12 Q300s.

US Airways stresses it is in "the very early stages of that [review] and we have a lot of time to make that decision, so it will be some time before we do". Piedmont - an all-Dash 8 operator - feeds US Airways' US East Coast hubs at Charlotte, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington Dulles.

In May, Continental Airlines signalled that the US market was beginning to reverse its negative stance towards the turboprop when it emerged that it had issued a request for proposals (RFP) to regional carriers to operate 24 new 70-seat turboprops. In recent years, the only major US airline buyer of new turboprops has been Horizon Air, which has a fleet of Q400s.

Meanwhile, US Airways' plan to introduce the Bombardier CRJ900 into the fleet of its subsidiary PSA Airlines has stalled after the regional carrier's pilots rejected proposed pay rates for the aircraft.

Source: Flight International