Bombardier Commercial Aircraft’s novel new ‘cargo-combi aircraft’ has been delivered to its first customer, Ryukyu Air Commuter Ltd. in Okinawa, Japan – the first of five Q400 aircraft to be supplied to that feeder service for the JAL Group.
RAC is the launch customer for this new variant of the Q400 aircraft. The carrier operates domestic passenger services from the island of Okinawa to other islands of Okinawa Prefecture and the Amami Islands in Kagoshima Prefecture.
Unveiled at the Farnborough Airshow in 2014, the Q400 is a turboprop aircraft designed with a standard single-class configuration for passenger service, or an optional dual-class interior for more passenger comfort. It’s also available in an optional “extra-capacity configuration” with up to 86 seats, or a cargo-passenger combi configuration.
The Q400 combi aircraft is the latest in a series of twin-engine, medium-range, turboprop airliners introduced in 1984 by de Havilland Canada and now produced by Bombardier Aerospace. Bombardier Commercial Aircraft builds the aircraft at a plant in Toronto.
The new aircraft’s layout reportedly offers the greatest payload capability and operational flexibility in the turboprop segment. Bombardier claims it is the only commercial turboprop now available in various configurations.
In its highest payload capability, the Q400 offers up to 9,000 lb. of cargo capacity and up to 1,150 cu.ft. of cargo volume, which still would “comfortably accommodate” 50 passengers at 32-inch seat “pitch,” or 58 passengers at 29-inch seat pitch.
“With the delivery of our first combi aircraft, we are celebrating a standout accomplishment for the Q400 aircraft program,” stated Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
“By operating on routes with high cargo demand and medium-to-low passenger loads, RAC will benefit from the unique economic potential of the Q400 cargo-combi aircraft,” according to Cromer.
Reportedly, Bombardier has firm orders for 547 Q400 aircraft.