Privately-owned South African scheduled and non-scheduled domestic and international operations airline CemAir has concluded a $66-million deal with Canadian company Bombardier Aerospace for two new twin turboprop Q400 regional airliners. This follows on from a letter of intent signed between the two enterprises in June at the Paris Air Show. CemAir has also leased a used Q400, that was delivered earlier this month.
“CemAir has enjoyed significant growth in the last few years and this has come from our focused approach on selecting the right aircraft for our operation,” explained airline CEO Miles van der Molen. “The Q400 is a fantastic performer especially in our environment of high altitudes and hot operating temperatures. It is really an unbeatable turboprop that brings so many jet-like features to ensure a competitive and operational advantage in our market.”
“We see the Q400 as the ideal growth solution for our scheduled and charter operations as we continue to strengthen our relationship with Bombardier,” he added. “We are working to expand our scheduled operations beyond South Africa and continuing to support new opportunities across the continent.”
The Q400 can carry up to 90 passengers in single class extra capacity configuration, or 82 seats in single class standard configuration (more space per passenger), or 76 passengers in two class configuration (8 business class, 68 economy class). It can be used for short-haul and medium-haul operations and has a maximum cruise speed (not maximum speed) of 360 knots (nautical miles per hour).
“We are delighted CemAir has selected the Q400 aircraft to expand its fleet,” affirmed Bombardier Commercial Aircraft VP sales: Middle East and Africa Jean-Paul Boutibou. “The Q400 is the next natural step in the growth of CemAir’s fleet of Bombardier CRJ series and Q series aircraft, as it brings more flexibility to increase the capacity on key routes while their [sic] aircraft’s superior performance and unbeatable economics support CemAir’s growing market position against competitive forces. The Q400 will open several market opportunities to CemAir on domestic and future regional routes.”
In addition to the Q400s, CemAir owns and operates 12 Bombardier CRJ100 and CRJ200 and one (used) CRJ900 regional jets, five Bombardier Dash 8 Q100 and Dash 8 Q300 turboprops, and (reportedly) four Beechcraft 1900D turboprops. The Q400s and the CRJ900 are the largest aircraft in its fleet in terms of passenger capacity. Its scheduled operations serve Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, George, Plettenburg Bay, Margate, Hoedspruit and Sishen.