The Indian carrier will become the first in the world to operate a 90-seat turboprop.
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft has delivered the first 90-seat variant of the Bombardier Q400 regional turboprop. The aircraft was handed over to India’s SpiceJet, the launch operator for this increased-capacity version, on 21st September.
The Indian carrier will become the first in the world to operate a 90-seat turboprop. According to Bombardier, the increased passenger capacity allows a 15% reduction of seat cost compared to the previous-standard Q400 aircraft, which typically seats 78 passengers.
The 90-seat configuration received certification from Transport Canada on 1st August.
SpiceJet concluded a firm purchase agreement with Bombardier for up to 50 Q400s turboprop airliners in September 2017, making it the largest single order ever for the Q400 programme. The agreement included 25 Q400 turboprops and purchase rights on an additional 25 aircraft. The order was valued at up to $1.7bn at list prices.
SpiceJet — a key participant in the Indian government’s UDAN Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) — says the aircraft will be used to further enhance connectivity to smaller towns and cities and help realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ensuring that every Indian can fly.
The airline currently operates 22 Q400s in a 78-seat configuration to domestic and international destinations.
The high-density Q400 cabin configuration was officially launched in February 2016. Philippine Airlines took delivery of a dual-class 86-seat variant (economy and premium economy classes with a 29-inch and 33-inch seat pitch, respectively) in July 2017.