The new owner wants to sell the Dash 8-400 in Asia. De Havilland is using dense seating. The manufacturer is also thinking about a shorter and a longer version of the plane.
The Dash 8 Q400 isn’t as popular as it used to be in Germany and Austria. Austrian Airlines is retiring the aircraft in favour of the Airbus A320. LGW replaces them with Embraer E-jets. De Havilland Canada, which took over the programme from Bombardier in June and changed its name to Dash 8-400, wants to give the aircraft model new momentum.
The subsidiary of Longview Aviation Capital also hopes to receive orders for fleet renewal programmes from Europe and North America. Most importantly, however, it is focusing on two other continents. In an interview with aeroTELEGRAPH at the Dubai Airshow, Philippe Poutissou, Head of De Havilland Sales, said that the company had recently been very successful in Africa. «And I think we will continue to see demand from this region.»
Hopeful for Asia
At the trade show, the aircraft manufacturer announced an order from the Nigerian Elin Group for three of the planes and a letter of intent from the leasing company Palmal Holdings for 20 planes. The Republic of Ghana signed a letter of intent for six aircraft. In October, De Havilland received its first order for a Dash 8 from Air Tanzania. But the aircraft manufacturer hopes for even more from elsewhere. «The emerging market where we will be most active will be Asia», says Poutissou.
There, the new, denser cabin with 90 seats is particularly in demand, says the manager. Last year, Indias Spicejet was not only the first airline to receive a Dash 8 with 90 seats, but also the first with Expliseat seats weighing only 6.5 kilograms. LGW and Austrian Airlines have installed 76 seats.
Longer or shorter version
At the end of July, De Havilland’s order book contained of 46 aircraft. Poutissou explains that the company is working at full capacity for 2020 and that De Havilland is currently working on filling production for 2021 with orders. The advantage over the program being managed by Bombardier is that De Havilland now concentrates solely on the Dash 8 and not on other planes, says the manager.
Meanwhile De Havilland is also thinking about a further improvement of the aircraft. The sales manager says that the option of both a longer and a shorter version should be examined. «A lot of people are asking us: What are you going to do about the 50 seat market?», says Poutissou. These include operators of the Dash 8 Q300, which is no longer being built.
However, De Havilland is just starting to examine these options, says Poutissou. Until now, the company had been busy talking personally to more than 100 customers and prospects after the change of ownership. Thus, other possible changes have not been decided, but conceivable. “Even do we look at improving the engine.”