Bombardier sees turboprop opportunity in developing regions

FINN interviewed Colin Bole, Senior VP, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, about its Q400, the turboprops market, and more.

Bole said: “We're seeing great opportunity for turboprops in developing regions. It is, as we call it, 'the network builder'. In a number of countries where there aren't necessarily direct connections and where there are strong performance requirements, the Q400 is truly a fabulous tool. We offer up to 90 seats; we've got very good take-off performance; and we've got high speed with the aircraft.

High hopes

“One of the areas we're very successful with this type of product is in Africa, and we're replicating that into the Middle East, into Asia and [have high] hopes in Latin America, where, once again, you've got smaller traffic flows yet good growth and very high requirements for performance, for speed, for a product that is effectively a jet lookalike yet smaller and very, very cost efficient.”

 A high-tech "hybrid jet"

Some see turboprops as old-fashioned.

However, Bole said: “I call the Q400 a hybrid jet. Propellers are very high-tech elements, and turboprop engines are as high-tech as jet engines. There is this perception in some markets that turboprops are old technology, old planes. That's not the case. Those are very high-tech products, and as I say in this particular case, we have a product that can fly as fast as a jet, and that's why I like to call it a hybrid jet.”

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