Hawaii Island Air has placed a firm order for two Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners on 31 March 2014, and has taken options on another four of these aircraft. On the same day Thai low-cost carrier Nok Air converted two previously booked Q400 NextGen options to firm orders.
The Island Air Q400s will be delivered with a dual-class, 71-seat configuration. Bombardier cashes US$ 60.9 million on the deal, which could increase to US$ 188 million if Island Air exercises all options. Island Air currently offers flights to and from the islands of Oahu, Maui, Lanai and Kauai. The islands of Hawaii are known as one of the world’s surfers paradises.
The Nok Air Q400 NextGen conversions of two options into firm orders follows a contract announced in November 2013. It holds another four purchase rights and two earlier firm orders.
Nok Air will be the launch customer for the new extra capacity seating option of the Q400 NextGen turboprop that will allow the aircraft to accommodate up to 86 passengers. The Nok Air order is valued at US$ 64 million.
Malawian Airlines has become the 15th operator in Africa flying the Bombardier Q400 turboprop. The airliner operating from Lilongwe started service with the type in January this year, half a year after the company was founded by the Government of Malawi, Ethiopian Airlines and Malawian institutional and individual investors. Ethiopian Airlines provided the dual-class Q400 NextGen aircraft to Malawian Airlines.
Air Côte d’Ivoire, operating out of Abidjan, placed a firm order for two Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners on 18 December 2013.
The national carrier of Ivory Coast pays about US$ 69 million for the pair. If it also converts two options it took, the order value for Bombardier rises to 141 million US dollar. The deal was pre-announced during the 2013 Dubai Airshow in November.
Apart from the fairly high speed and good cruise capabilities of the Q400, Air Côte d’Ivoire had another reason to choose for the Bombardier aircraft. “In West Africa, where average fuel prices are among the highest in the world and the highest on the continent, the fast, fuel-efficient Q400 NextGen turboprop airliner is the most cost effective and flexible regional aircraft solution for our operations”, says the airlines Chief Executive Officer René Decurey.
Including the order announced today, Bombardier has booked 480 firm orders for Q400 and Q400 NextGen turboprops.
Nantong Tongzhou Bay Aviation has confirmed it is about to place a firm order for 30 Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft to launch commercial airlines operations in China under the name of Sutong Airlines.
The Bombardier Q400 can accommodate 70 to 86 seats. More than 476 firm orders have been placed for the Q400 and Q400 NextGen. The latter is the most advanced successor to Bombardier’s Dash 8/Q-Series family of aircraft, optimized for short-haul routes.
One of the Romanian Air Force’s C-27Js will be the first aircraft in Europe to use a new firefighting system: just dropping a cardboard box full of water or extinguishing liquid. In the past few weeks Alenia Aermacchi ran training tests with the aircraft and concept, which doesn’t acquire any special firefighting systems installed.
The Fortele Aeriene Române (Romanian Air Force, FAR) jointly with Alenia Aermacchi completed the tests in a Romanian mountain range and at sea level with a FAR C-27J Spartan. The so-called Caylym Guardian concept allows the C-27 to drop up to six large cardboard containers on bush fires; each container holding 1000 liters of water or extinguishing liquid.
After the drop the boxes create a retardant liquid cloud focused on the target. Containers are biodegradable but they can also be recovered by ground firefighters. The concept even allows the C-27J – or C-130J for that matter – to fight fires from 1,500 feet. That’s is higher than when using traditional firefighting methods on aircraft. It makes fighting bush fires safer and opens up more possibilities of combating fire at night.