Regional Turboprop resurgence continues; Jet demand shifts upward

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 21 March 2008



(2008), "Regional Turboprop resurgence continues; Jet demand shifts upward", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 80 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Regional Turboprop resurgence continues; Jet demand shifts upward

Article Type: Mini features From: Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology: An International Journal, Volume 80, Issue 2.

In its latest study on “The Market for Regional Transport Aircraft” Forecast International projects that 3,800 regional aircraft will be produced from 2007 through 2016, including 2,539 regional jets and 1,261 regional turboprops. The new study estimates the overall value of this production at $99.7 billion, as measured in constant 2007 US dollars.

While regional jets remain the dominant products in the market, regional turboprop airliners are continuing to experience a remarkable resurgence in demand. Accounting for the revival of market interest in turboprops is a combination of factors, including continuing growth in air traffic, rising fuel prices, and a need on the part of regional airlines to cut costs and reduce fares in the face of low-fare carrier competition.

ATR and Bombardier are the two leading manufacturers of regional turboprops, and have been busily ramping up production rates to meet the robust demand for their products. According to Forecast International Senior Aerospace Analyst Raymond Jaworowski, “ATR and Bombardier stayed in the regional turboprop business while many of their competitors were dropping out, and they are now reaping the rewards of their perseverance.”

Looking to further take advantage of the robust market demand, ATR recently launched enhanced 600 versions of its 50-seat ATR 42 and 70- seat ATR 72 turboprops and has begun considering development of a 90-seat model. Bombardier, meanwhile, has been mulling the possible launch of a 90-seat version of its 70-seat Q400 turboprop.

As for jet-powered aircraft, regional jet demand has been shifting ever upward to larger-capacity aircraft. The market for 50-seat regional jets is but a slim shadow of what it was in the late 1990s, and demand is currently concentrated on 70-seat and especially 90-seat aircraft. However, scope clauses in airline pilot contracts remain an artificial constraint on sales of 90-125 seat regional jets, and an easing of this situation is needed before the market can reach its full potential.

Bombardier and Embraer currently dominate the regional jet market. With a product line stretching to 122 seats, Embraer is the better positioned of the two to take advantage of the trend toward larger aircraft. Bombardier's current regional jet line tops out at 100 seats, though the firm is contemplating launch of a 110-130 seat aircraft family called the CSeries. Meanwhile, new regional jet models such as the AVIC I ARJ21, the Sukhoi Superjet 100, and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet models are in development, and will challenge the Embraer and Bombardier products for sales.

The Forecast International study projects that, during the 2007-2016 time period, Embraer will produce 1,268 regional jets, a market share of 33.4 percent. Bombardier is projected to build 1,067 regional aircraft (jets and turboprops combined), a share of 28.1 per cent. ATR is forecast to build 395 regional turboprops for a 10.4 per cent market share. No other company is predicted to have a unit production share exceeding 10 per cent. The value of Embraer production during the forecast period is $40.7 billion, for a 40.8 per cent market share. Bombardier is projected to build $33.1 billion worth of regional aircraft, for a 33.2 per cent share. The value of forecast ATR production is estimated at $7.0 billion, a 7 per cent share.

For further information, please contact: Forecast International, Inc., Tel: +1 203 426 0800.

Related articles