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.
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.