Bombardier Aerospace is embarking on an Africa wide tour today to showcase its successful Q400 turboprop aircraft to potential customers on the continent. The tour will commence in West Africa before moving to Southern and then Eastern Africa for both static display as well as short test flights for invited airline executives and media representatives.
Ethiopian Airlines has 8 of these state of the art planes already in operation and a further 5 on order, and a flight simulator is expected to be installed at the Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy at Addis Ababas Bole International Airport before the end of the year, to train their own pilots and pilots due for the twice a year simulator training from other airlines in Africa.
BlueBird of Kenya for instance operates 5 Q400 and a number of other airlines across the continent too are using the aircraft for their short haul routes.
Important for the Eastern African region, the Q 400 will be on display in Nairobi from the 11th of May to present the aircraft to a number of interested Kenyan airlines, which will give them the opportunity to discuss flight economics and deals with the Bombardier team on the tour. The Q400 will then proceed to Kigali for a showcasing on the 14th of May, mainly aimed at RwandAir.
Rwandas national airline operated two CRJ200 jets before ordering two brand new CRJ900 aircraft earlier this year for delivery by October 2012, but is also evaluating presently to upgrade from their single Bombardier Dash 8-100 to a larger and more economical state of the art aircraft. It is understood from usually reliable sources that the Q400 is one of the options RwandAir is looking at, besides the French built ATR, but like with the decision over the jet acquisition, where Bombardier competed directly against Embraer, the overall package deal the Canadians are likely to put together, will very likely in the end tip the scales their way. The presentation of the Q400 will be a unique opportunity for RwandAirs executives to see and feel the plane hands on and for their pilots to get some insight into inflight performance and handling while the evaluation of future plane acquisitions continues.
The Bombardier Africa Tour will commence in Accra / Ghana on May 04, followed by Maputo / Mozambique on May 07, Gaborone / Botswana on May 08, Dar es Salaam / Tanzania on May 10, Nairobi on May 11 and finally Kigali on May 14.