Regional airliner

A regional airliner or a feederliner is a small airliner designed to fly up to 100 passengers on short-haul flights, usually feeding larger carriers' hubs from small markets. This class of airliners are typically flown by the regional airlines that are either contracted by or subsidiaries of the larger airlines. Feederliner, commuter, and local service are all alternate terms for the same class of flight operations.In the early days of aviation, most aircraft had a relatively short range so that all airlines were "regional" in nature. With the introduction of longer range aircraft, notably flying boats, these shorter range planes increasingly found their niche feeding the newer and longer range airliners by flying passengers to the mainline's airline hubs. Many of these smaller regional airlines were eventually bought by the larger flag carriers. To keep these short routes economical, the airlines were generally unwilling to spend large amounts of money on new aircraft; at times they used second hand aircraft.[1] Also, as new models slowly emerged, older aircraft were put into this service when they were replaced by progressively longer-range designs. In the immediate post-war era these were typically Douglas DC-3s, although even the De Havilland Dragon Rapide remained in service for some time. This "hand-me-down" process of supplying aircraft continued with designs like the Convair 440, Douglas DC-6 and Vickers Viscount also serving in this role while the first jets were introduced. [edit]Turboprop designs By the mid-1950s, demand for even more economical designs led to the production of the first custom feederliners. These were almost always turboprops, which had fuel economy on par with piston engine designs, but had far lower maintenance costs. Often the time between engine overhaul periods was five times that of the best piston engines. Early examples of these designs include the Avro 748, Fokker F27 and Handley Page Dart Herald. These designs were so successful that it was many years before newer designs bettered them e

ough to make it worthwhile to develop. There were a few exceptions, generally tailored to more specific roles. For instance, the Handley Page Jetstream (first flight in 1968) was intended for fewer passengers at much higher speeds, displacing smaller designs like the Beechcraft Queen Air. The Fairchild/Swearingen Metro (developed from the original Queen Air through a number of stages) filled a similar niche. The De Havilland Dash 8-100. By the 1970s the first generation regional airliners were starting to wear out, but there had been little effort in producing new designs for this market. A varied list of light transport aircraft supplanted by newer and more modern 30 seat designs by Shorts with their Shorts 330 and 360 as well as other aircraft manufacturers, replaced and sometimes provided growth to established commuter markets. Additional development came to the regional airline industry with the arrival of some of the earlier De Havilland Canada types such as the Dash 7 delivered in 1978, but this was tailored more to the short-range and STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) role than as a regional airliner. Feedback from the airlines was fairly consistent, however, and De Havilland responded with the Dash 8 in 1984, which had economic benefits over the earlier generation machines, and was faster and quieter as well. In the early 1990s, the Dash 8's success sparked off development of a number of similar designs, including the ATR 42/72, Saab 340, Embraer Brasilia and Fokker F50. Consequently there were a relatively large number of aircraft offered by manufacturers in this sector of the market, pushing older 1950s designs from Fokker, Vickers and others into retirement. Due to the high level of competition, production of a number of these types ceased. Saab AB exited the civil aviation market and wrote its debts off, Daimler-Benz Aerospace "pulled the plug" on Dornier, and British Aerospace ended production of their BAe Jetstream 41 after 100 delivered. In 2006 only the ATR 42/72 models and the Dash 8 remain in production.