View Full Version : Turboprops Vs Regional Jets...

November Whiskey
24th Jun 2004, 13:50
Hail All Tech Guru's,

Nothing found through the search function.....I'm looking for the fundamental reasons why a short haul operator would choose one of these over the other.

Thanks in advance.



24th Jun 2004, 14:08
You wouldn't have a job interview coming up by any chance then?:p

November Whiskey
24th Jun 2004, 14:56

Caught red-handed...what can I say?

Ah yes......a resourceful Pilot should use all available sources of information to him/her...:yuk:

Am I forgiven?


24th Jun 2004, 18:17
Try the Bombardier website at:


A friend of mine who used to work there (laid off) said there's a rule that pax don't like to fly more than an hour per leg in a turboprop. Sorry, I can't be more specific than that.

24th Jun 2004, 19:44
Pax just don't like props period. They think props are retro. So replacing a prop with a jet may just be marketing but there may also be an "economy of scale" issue.

But that's only true if the jet is indeed replacing a turbo-prop on a short segment.

Then you take more passengers with fewer planes and crews. It's economics and/or marketing.

25th Jun 2004, 06:27
Presuming that the airline doesnt have similiar aircraft within the fleet for commonality purposes, a number of deciding factors will be:

1: Capital cost, some of the regional jets cost around $25m.
2: Route structure and operational performance capabilites.
3: Route fare structure, can it support the higher costs of the jets.
4: Passenger appeal, jets are faster, smoother.


27th Jun 2004, 03:23
Mutt has summarised the differences nicely, and if you remember those, they'll get you through any interview. If you want to add some background to any of the points, then try this (I've built the response around Mutt's summary points, which are in bold).

ANSWER Hmm, Turboprops Vs Regional Jets? . . . . . . . . well there is ultimately a dividing line between regional jets and turboprops, and this is determined by both revenue and costs. At the simplest level, jets have [B]Passenger appeal, jets are faster, smoother

But from the airline's perspective, its revenues are determined by a combination of passenger numbers and average fares. Route fare structure, can it support the higher costs of the jets? The circumstances of certain operations means the revenue generated per trip cannot cover the cost of a regional jet. Regional jets have a higher operating cost per hour. They are larger, burn more fuel, have higher maintenance costs, may in certain airlines have higher flightcrew charges, and have higher weight-related user charges in certain circumstances. Capital cost, some of the regional jets cost around $25m. They also have higher finance or leasing costs.

Turboprops provide a lower cost alternative to regional jets, and are the only alternative for airlines with particular operating and economic circumstances.

Route structure and operational performance capabilities. Besides basic unit and trip costs, there are other physical and airline operating constraints which prevent the operation of regional jets. These are limitations posed by short runways, pilot scope clauses preventing the operation of regional jets over certain sizes or in particular numbers, and factors preventing high enough levels of aircraft utilisation.

27th Jun 2004, 04:35
Overrun, thats exactly what i meant to say :):):) Thanks for expanding on my comments....


27th Jun 2004, 13:08
of course if you actually use those replies youd better hope that whoever is interviewing you wasn't the one who wrote it, ah anonymous forums! ;) good luck

27th Jun 2004, 14:43
If they were so lucky Daysleeper.... Not only will the interviewer agree with the interviewee, he/she will bath in the warm glow of having his/her words quoted back to him/her. :)

Break a leg NW

28th Jun 2004, 05:13
Not sure about the cost aspect, a Transport Canada friend of mine told me that their figures show a CRJ (50 seater) breaks even at just 14 pax.

Before Comair took delivery of their first one, we flew a couple of their directors on 7003 (the first CRJ with pax seating) as route proving/ testing. The trip was from Cincinatti to Birmingham - then their longest route at over two hours. Our block time was just 46 minutes. It was at that point it dawned on them what they'd got.

The main advantages are definitely cutting the journey time plus the ability to bypass the (other guy's) hub. It also means you can do up to 10 trips per day with each aircraft rather than just four or five.

28th Jun 2004, 15:08

Indeed yes, the breakeven cost of the CRJ looks impressive by that statistic. The regional jets have made big inroads into the turboprop market by their speed and low cost per ASK.

But the devil is in the detail. The Canadian breakeven analysis has built-in assumptions about fare levels per km, and it must assume high aircraft utilisation. If the market supports those assumptions (far be it from me to say in a rich and busy country), then the RJs will dominate.

In fact there is a feeling around that based on announced fleet replacement plans, the USA regional operators are likely to be almost completely regional jet-equipped by the second half of the decade. The RJ’s popularity in the USA is fed by intensive competition (and not to be forgetting the rich and busy bit).

The same laws of market preference do not apply to low-demand markets. Competition will be from alternative forms of transport, and these can get rather low in cost. These services are likely to be served by either independent operators or franchises (and these can also get rather low in cost). Such organisations are driven much more by cost than the ‘prestige’ of new aircraft. In many cases they will be funded through subsidies from either national or local governments, so cost is the key to gain the contract. If it is a low-demand market, the subsidy is going to be 'low-rent' to match the market. Frequencies are not usually intensive, which means the utilisation is probably way down from the Canadian assumptions, and the speed advantage of regional jets becomes less important.

This is the turboprop market. Notwithstanding the value of the technology and performance advantage of the RJs, I am somehow seized by mental imagery of a turboprop aircraft soaring with flash of glinting wings in a steel blue sky, high above the tiny shape below of Clint Eastwood riding on a donkey through the desert and cacti in some spaghetti western. The image is not helped by the recent replacement of jets by turboprops on some internal Spanish services. Lucky Spaniards. In my country, we're still hoping to upgrade from piston-engined Navajos.

29th Jun 2004, 11:20
Bombardier sells 4 planes

Canadian Press

TORONTO — Bombardier Aerospace says that Japan Air Commuter, the largest regional carrier in the Japan Airlines Group, has ordered four more Q400 high-speed turboprop aircraft — a deal likely worth more than $100-million US.

The order includes an option for one more Q400, and Japan Air Commuter now has firm orders for nine Bombardier Q400s. Japan Air Commuter, based in Kagoshima, Japan, operates 137 flights a day to 23 destinations.

Financial details of the sale were not announced Monday in a release, but in April All Nippon Airways orders four 74-seat Q400s in a deal worth as much as $110-million US.

As of April 30, Montreal-based Bombardier's Q400 firm order book stood at 108 aircraft, of which 80 had been delivered to 11 operators around the world.

29th Jun 2004, 13:09
There was an RJ-equipped airline in Oz - Kendal. Your comments may well be correct as to required intensity - a couple of mates of mine were caught when they folded.

With over a 1,000 sold, it won't be long before the first CRJs filter down to the secondary markets - the Dakota of the 21st Century!

November Whiskey
29th Jun 2004, 14:37
Cheers all for your replies. Much appreciated.


Ignition Override
3rd Jul 2004, 06:59
How about riding on a very narrow Embraer jet for three hours to or from Phoenix, Arizona? Or in a Canadair CRJ which is barely larger?

My wife flew just one hour in the CRJ (jet) and found it very uncomfortable. Said it was one of the worst flights she has ever had. Many people assume that passengers will avoid such narrow fuselages, if a "mainline' 737/DC-9/Fokker is available. I found the CRJ ok compared to the SF-340, but the seats were not soft and there was probably the same legroom as on a SF-340 turboprop, maybe the same limited head and shoulder room.

Many ignorant pasengers, the 'local yokels', don't quite trust any small plane. Part of this is due to a total lack of information from the airlines and pilot unions. There has never been p.r. material which explains the very reliable turbines in a turboprop (how about shorter takeoff and landing distances in a straight-wing plane?), nor the advantages of flying higher in a turbofan.

But many people, even pilots, claim that the customer is only interested in the price. Who knows the truth?
:confused: :8