The Canadian planemaker Bombardier, which counts SpiceJet as one of their customers, received certification from Transport Canada for the 90 seat Q400 aircraft variant. This makes them the first in-production commercial turboprop in the world to reach that capacity.
SpiceJet, which is the launch customer of the 90-seater Q400 and has up to 50 of these 90-seaters on order (25 on firm order, 25 options), will hence become the first airliner to take advantage of the extra capacity turboprop. They already operate the 78-seat version, and by adding the 90-seat version, they get a 15% reduction in operating cost per seat as compared to the existing 78-seat aircraft.The 90-seat configuration has a seat pitch at 28″ in an all-economy layout.
SpiceJet will receive their first 90 seat Q400 by the end of 2018, adding to their fleet of 23 Q400s with 78 seats already.
The turboprops have been great for SpiceJet, at least to the extent of how I see them from the outside. SpiceJet has been able to open quite some new routes with the turboprop before upgrading those routes to jetplane routes (Delhi – Gorakhpur being my favourite example), where perhaps demand outstripped supply, and this looks like a fantastic opportunity for them to bring demand and supply in line.
I really hope Bombardier is able to push out the first jet for SpiceJet within the year. Oh, and SpiceJet if you are planning a delivery flight, I’ll raise my hand!