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March 2, 2024
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UnknownBombardier is planning a higher density interior for the Q400, and apparently has an unannounced launch customer for that configuration.  In a higher density seating arrangement, with thin-line seats and tighter seat pitch, the capacity of the aircraft will rise to 84 or 86 seats in two configurations, versus 74 for typically configured versions today.

This move is consistent with the industry, where we’ve seen thin-line seating raise the capacity of A320s at Lufthansa from 150 to 162 seats, and even extremely high density seating on 777-300ERs from several operators that seat more than 425 passengers.  Low cost carriers need to squeeze every inch of space on an aircraft to maintain competitive advantage, and the new thinner seat technologies are enabling them to improve seat-mile costs within existing products.  But it makes me feel like a sardine just thinking about it.  Welcome to the new world of airline economics.


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4 thoughts on “A Higher Capacity Q400

  1. Don’t see many orders for the Q400, hardly any in the US and its roots are from the Dash-8 series. An old design and with the larger RJ’s coming online, with better fuel burn numbers than the first gen 50 seater’s, the order numbers show what the airlines want in a regional aircraft. The public still has negative impressions of planes with propellers and a study some years ago called the RJ factor found when an RJ replaced a turbo prop, ridership went up 20 percent.

    This seems to be a very small market and Bombardier and ATR are not breaking free of old models, but only tweaking what they already offer. Too small of a market for a new clean sheet aircraft.

  2. Just 2 things; to the author, I’ve flown with the thin seats and the whole idea is NOT to “sardine” you, and I did not feel it at all. The seat pitch is something else but I fly in a -8 a few times a year and they have an inch or 2 to spare, so no worries. As for cheapgreek, speaking of tweaking, look at a B737. Came out when, in 1967. With a 727 fuselage, which is from a 707! Boeing can get away with it, so can Bombardier and ATR. Right, the market is too small, a niche. But I’m satisfied when I fly in it. Even an F50 works for me. SAAB 340, well that’s another story.

  3. Your last sentence invites another column on Airbus’ proposed 18-inch seat standard. Of course, as Boeing pointed out, this is a self-serving initiative, yet it still has some merit. Shouldn’t the industry somehow avoid a race to the bottom ?

  4. The 737 has a much greater market share and the sheer numbers of airlines and huge fleets has justified the upgrading of the aircraft. Only a handful of Dash’s are flown in the US so the risk for a new propjet is too great. The Piedmont fleet will lose 4 frames this year, 3 cycle time outs and one due to a wheels up landing at EWR, that frame was scrapped. They will also lose 2 or 3 next year and in spite of Piedmont’s claim to be looking for more aircraft for the last 7 or 8 years, not one has joined the fleet. It appears US is letting Piedmont die on the vine

    I thought the Fokker company was be resurrected as far as the jets go, but I thought the F50 was a great aircraft following the F27. The turbo prop seems to be dead in the US.

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