Bombardier Debuts 90-Seat Turboprop

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Today at the Singapore Airshow, Bombardier introduced a new variant of its Q400 aircraft, which it says will be the world's only commercial turboprop capable of carrying 90 passengers. The 90-seat configuration comes with a 2,000-pound increase in payload. Bombardier says those 12 to 14 extra seats help deliver a 20 percent advantage in operating costs compared to competing turboprops. "We are witnessing growth in the number of passengers per departure in the turboprop market," said Patrick Baudis, a spokesman for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. The new airplane is "ideally suited for current and future short-haul and high-demand markets," he said.

Bombardier officials said the new seats won't require any changes to the fuselage. A rear bulkhead will be moved farther toward the tail and the front right-hand door will be reconfigured to create space for the extra seats. The new variant is expected to start deliveries in 2018. The new configuration may also be offered as a retrofit for the existing fleet. Meanwhile, the company announced today from its base in Canada that it plans to cut 7,000 jobs over the next two years, nearly 10 percent of its workforce. "We are turning Bombardier around to make this great company stronger and more competitive," said CEO Alain Bellemare. The jobs reduction will be "partially offset" by hiring in strategic growth areas, the company said.

The company also announced today from its headquarters in Quebec that it has secured a firm order from Air Canada for 45 CS300 airplanes with options for 30 more. The airline will become the first international mainline carrier in North America to add C Series jets. "A landmark order from a marquee and iconic customer like Air Canada is a very significant strategic marker for the C Series aircraft program," said Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. "The C Series aircraft has proven and exceeded its performance targets and can readily be used as a coast-to-coast mainline connector or to open direct flights to under-served destinations. Performance and exceptionally low operating costs are ultimately what make this plane a success."