As we enter 2004, turboprop aircraft will play an increasingly important
role in the development of European regional air services through the next
decade, leading independent aviation consulting company IBA Group believes.
Simon Finn, IBA?s Head of Valuations, believes that turboprops of more than
30 seats are well suited to the development of new ?thin? routes, especially
for airports that are operationally too restrictive for regional jets.
“There will also be increased opportunities for both turboprops and small
jets as the mainline carriers continue to hand down marginal routes to their
wholly owned or affiliate regional airline partners,” he said.
Of the total 39 turboprop types still flying globally today, only 16 types -
three of which are no longer in production - remain viable for long-term
operations, Finn observes. IBA identifies the ATR-42 and 72 (? 200 and -500
versions); BAE Jetstream 41 and ATP; Bombardier Q Series (Q100/Q200, Q300
and Q400); Dornier 328; Embraer Brasilia; Fokker 50 and the Saab 340 and
2000 as having the best opportunity for continued use of turboprops among
One of the key growth areas identified, especially for the smaller
turboprops, is Eastern Europe with more than 12 countries due to join the
European Union starting this year. With the anticipated economic growth of
these countries there will be an increased demand for travel and therefore
better opportunities for route development by existing airlines and for
IBA believes there is plenty of availability of reasonably priced,
good-quality aircraft on the market, which could present great opportunities
for airlines looking to build their fleets. For example, the average market
value for a 1985-built ATR-42-300 is $2.8 million, while a 1989-built Dash
8-300 has a price tag of approximately $4.8 million.
Nevertheless, the size of the active turboprop fleet ? currently 8,854
flying worldwide, will progressively reduce over the next decade as more and
more established airlines move up to regional jets and the older,
less-viable turboprop types are retired.
Turboprop numbers peaked in 1990 when 511 aircraft were delivered (including
deliveries of commercial types for non-commercial use). But deliveries have
been dramatically affected by the advent of the RJ and IBA believes that
manufacturers will struggle to secure large orders in the future.
IBA Group Ltd. is a leading independent aviation consulting company based
near London Gatwick Airport, UK. The company specialises in both technical
aspects of aircraft, spares and engines as well as offering a full range of
commercial business and asset valuation services.
Last summer IBA became the first independent non-airline organisation to
obtain CAA E3 approval, enabling it to transfer aircraft on to the UK
register. It completed its first E3 project through its Technical
Management Services earlier this year, a BAe 146-200 for Aer Lingus.
Three other E3 projects have also been completed, with one further project
currently under development. The E3 process includes an inspection of the
aircraft and its records for the purposes of issuing a Certificate of Design