Regional market could be too tough for five players

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Published: March 22, 2012

Regional aircraft manufacturers face a battle of attrition, an aviation consultant warned Tuesday.

MBA president and CEO Robert Agnew told an audience at the ISTAT Americas 2012 conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., that there was a lot of uncertainty in the regional aircraft sector. How it will play out will depend to some extent on whether fuel prices continue to climb and the impact of new technologies such as the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) engine, which will power some of the new regional aircraft types.

With five manufacturers from five different countries competing for orders, Agnew said “it is going to be a very crowded market and it’s tough to know whether all five can survive.”

French manufacturer ATR, Canada’s Bombardier, Brazil’s Embraer, Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp., and Russia’s Sukhoi are all competing in the regional aircraft space.

“We think it’s going to be a battle of attrition,” Agnew said. Ensuring a global network of spares and infrastructure support for aircraft that look likely to have low production rates is tough to do, he added.

Some of the new regional aircraft types incorporate new technologies, such as the Bombardier CSeries and Mitsubishi MRJ, which will both be powered by GTFs ( ATW Daily News, Sept. 23, 2011 ).“Will GTF be a winner? It’s hard to tell at this stage,” Agnew said.

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