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December 9, 2019

The Dash 8-400

Market Presence. As a turboprop the Dash8-400 was previously inevitably tarnished by the general perception that the age of the turboprop had been consigned to history. The view that the era of the turboprop was at an end was clearly overstated. The high speed, interior comfort and advanced specification of the Dash8Q-400 are a match for regional jets on some sectors, particularly where fleet commonality and passenger perceptions are less important. The different operating weights of the -400 allow considerable flexibility in terms of range performance. At over 1,300 nautical miles, a large number of routes will be able to be served though few passengers will be enthusiastic about a two hour plus sector time. The potential range capability is more important in terms of allowing maximum payload, improving take-off performance and facilitating multi-hop sectors without the need to refuel. The competition to the Dash8-400 is naturally the ATR72-600 which is enjoying considerably more popularity, much more so than the Dash8. The production rates of the ATR product have increased while those of the Dash8 have stagnated. Spheres of influence continue to exist for manufacturers. Each manufacturer encounter difficulties that go beyond product specification should they seek to sell in a competitors backyard. Bombardier has an advantage in being able to sell both regional jets and turboprops but this seems not to have helped in recent years.

Market Outlook. Fuel efficiency, quieter cabins and higher speeds have enabled turboprops to claw back advances made by regional jets. The Dash8-400 goes beyond a simple stretch to the –300. The –400 is faster and offers greater comfort levels. Whatever the apparent advantages of the Dash8-400, the ATR72 remains more than a credible competitor and current and future values will still have to be realistic. The major change centers on the Longview acquisition and this is already seeing benefits which will continue. ATR now has a viable competitor once more. Values are expected to continue to fall.

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