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ⓘ Saab 2000




Saab 2000
                                     

ⓘ Saab 2000

The Saab 2000 is a twin-engined high-speed turboprop airliner built by Saab. It is designed to carry 50–58 passengers and cruise at a speed of 665 km/h. Production took place in Linkoping in southern Sweden. The Saab 2000 first flew in March 1992 and was certified in 1994. The last aircraft was delivered in April 1999, a total of 63 aircraft being built. By July 2018, 24 Saab 2000s were in airline service.

                                     

1. Development and design

In December 1988, Saab decided to build a stretched derivative of its successful Saab 340 twin-turboprop regional airliner. The new aircraft was planned to meet a perceived demand for a high-speed 50-seat turboprop with good climb performance which could operate over short- and medium-range routes with similar block times to jet aircraft while retaining the efficiency provided by turboprop engines. The new airliner, called the Saab 2000, was formally launched in May 1989, with Saab already having firm orders for 46 aircraft and options for a further 147. The aircraft was assembled at Saabs Linkoping factory, with major subcontractors including CASA, who built the aircrafts wings, Short Brothers, who built the rear fuselage and Valmet who built the aircrafts tail surfaces. The Saab 2000 first flew on 26 March 1992 and entered into scheduled airline service in September 1994, a few months after its certification by the Joint Aviation Authorities in March and the Federal Aviation Administration in April.

The Saab 2000 has a 15% greater wingspan than the Saab 340, and being 7.55 metres 24 ft 9 in longer can carry up to 58 passengers in a high-density layout and 50 with a more comfortable 32 inches 81 cm seat pitch. The 2000 was the first commercial aircraft to use the 4.591shp Rolls-Royce AE 2100 turboprop engines then built by Allison, driving slow turning six-bladed Dowty Rotol propellers. One engine was mounted on each wing, as in the 340, with the engines placed further from the fuselage than those of the 340 to reduce cabin noise.

                                     

2. Operational history

Sales of the Saab 2000 were fairly limited. The major initial customer was Crossair, a regional airline which had Swissair as a 56% shareholder. Crossair took delivery of 34 aircraft and was still operating the type in 2005.

Due to limited demand, Saab ceased production of the Saab 2000 in 1999, with the last aircraft being delivered to Crossair on 29 April of that year. The primary reason for the low sales was the success of newly introduced regional jets such as the Bombardier CRJ and Embraer ERJ 145 family which provided better performance and passenger comfort for the same initial price.

General Motors GM operated several corporate-configured Saab 2000s and was in talks with new startup air carrier Pro Air to have this airline operate them in scheduled service as Pro Air Express in the U.S.; however, Pro Air then encountered financial difficulties and ceased all operations before the deal could be consummated. Air Marshall Islands also operated a Saab 2000 in the remote Micronesia island region of the Pacific Ocean.

Some smaller airlines, including Eastern Airways in the UK, have subsequently acquired 2000s at low cost and operated them on regional routes which experience lower passenger numbers as well on shuttle services in the U.K. for oil and gas personnel working in the North Sea.

In June 2006, Pakistan completed the purchase of six Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft to be equipped with the Saab-Ericsson ERIEYE Airborne Early Warning system. Revised in May 2007 due to renegotiation with the Government of Pakistan, only five aircraft will be delivered, four of which will be equipped with the Erieye system. On 3 April 2008, the first Saab 2000 Erieye AEW&C was rolled out and presented to Pakistan Air Force officials during a ceremony in Sweden.

As of 2017, the only operator of the Saab 2000 in scheduled passenger operations in the U.S. is PenAir flying code sharing service on behalf of Alaska Airlines between Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport ANC and several destinations in the state of Alaska.

By July 2018, 24 Saab 2000s were in airline service.

                                     

3. Variants

  • Saab 2000FI: Flight inspection aircraft for the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, two produced.
  • Saab 2000 MPA: Maritime patrol aircraft
  • Saab 2000 Airtracer: SIGINT aircraft
  • Saab 2000: 50–58 seat regional airliner.
  • Saab 2000 AEW&C: Airborne early warning and control variant fitted with Erieye active electronically scanned array radar and associated mission systems.
                                     

4. Operators

Civilian operators

As of October 2019, a total of 14 Saab 2000s remained in civilian airline service, operated by:

  • Loganair 4
  • Eastern Airways 4
  • PenAir 6

Former airline operators

The following airlines formerly operated Saab 2000 aircraft in scheduled passenger service in the past:

  • Polet Airlines
  • Air Marshall Islands
  • PGA Portugalia Airlines operated by OMNI Aviation
  • Flybe
  • OLT Express Germany
  • SkyWork Airlines
  • Deutsche BA
  • Air France operated by CityJet and Regional Airlines
  • Adria Airways Switzerland 6 operated by Darwin Airline
  • FlyLAL
  • Braathens Regional
  • Carpatair
  • Scandinavian Airlines operated by Braathens Regional
  • Moldavian Airlines
  • Golden Air
  • Scandinavian Commuter operated by Swelink
  • Crossair
  • Malmo Aviation


                                     

5. Specifications

Data from Brasseys World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000

General characteristics

  • Airfoil: root: NACA MS1-0316; tip: NACA MS1-0312
  • Crew: 2
  • Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce AE 2100P turboprop engines, 3.096 kW 4.152 hp each
  • Max takeoff weight: 22.800 kg 50.265 lb
  • Propellers: 6-bladed Dowty Propellers constant-speed composite fully feathering and reversible-pitch propellers
  • Wing area: 55.7 m 2 600 sq ft
  • Length: 27.28 m 89 ft 6 in
  • Wingspan: 24.76 m 81 ft 3 in
  • Empty weight: 13.800 kg 30.424 lb
  • Height: 7.73 m 25 ft 4 in
  • Capacity: 50–58 passengers / 5.900 kg 13.007 lb payload

Performance

  • Rate of climb: 11.4 m/s 2.240 ft/min
  • Cruise speed: 665 km/h 413 mph, 359 kn
  • Service ceiling: 9.450 m 31.000 ft
  • Range: 2.869 km 1.783 mi, 1.549 nmi

Avionics

  • Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 avionics suite with integrated avionics processor IAP
                                     

6. Accidents and incidents

  • On 10 July 2002, Crossair Flight 850, operated with a Saab 2000, was forced to make an emergency landing at Werneuchen Airfield, Germany, as a result of severe weather. One of the sixteen passengers on board suffered minor injuries. The aircraft, registered as HB-IZY, was damaged beyond economic repair when hit an earth bank placed across the runway, the markings of which did not conform to standards.
  • On 8 October 1999, While being taxied by two technicians, the aircraft named "Eir Viking" crashed into closed hangardoors at Arlanda airport in Sweden. The plane was damaged beyond repair.
  • On 17 October 2019, PenAir Flight 3296 went off the runway while landing at Unalaska Airport in Unalaska, Alaska. The United States National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident. At least 1 person died and 10 injured.