EUROPE AND ITS SINGLE-ENGINE TURBOPROPS: TWO DECADES OF DELAYS
On March 2, 2017, the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) brought the winds of freedom not only to operators but especially to manufacturers of single-engine turboprops. This date is effectively an important turning point in European skies as it authorizes operators to perform commercial air transport operations under Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) and at night. A look back across a long-awaited measure by professionals and explained by an EASA expert. Pilatus, Daher and their competitors are already eager. The new regulation should offer manufacturers significant growth for the sales of single-engine turboprops. These manufacturers are betting on a reshuffling of the European market and a movement in their favor on behalf of airlines that prefer to focus on this type of aircraft, especially for reasons relating to operating costs. While it is true that the turboprops has countless advantages: fast, easy-to-maintain and particularly cost effective compared to light jets, single engine turboprops also have the undeniable advantage of being able to land on nearly any available airfield across Europe. Mistrust On the other side of the Atlantic or Australia, the “single engine” turboprops air transport taboo seems to have been forgotten over recent decades, while until now Europe has remained rather hesitant to open commercial operations up to this type of aircraft. Even though Europe has two of the largest manufacturers of turboprops in the industry: Daher-Socata and Pilatus. What a quandary. According to Hervé Julienne, Air Operations Standardisation Team Leader, “The debate over this regulation is nothing new. The Joint Aviation Authority (JAA), predecessor of the current EASA first brought up a draft on this legislation well before the year 2000. A first draft was published but it was rejected by the member states”.