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The future of the Turboprop

The use of the Turboprop is very specific to regional flights. That’s why companies like Hop and others use them for flights between different French cities. But why is this type of engine used only for short-haul flights of this type and not for longer flights such as medium-haul or long-haul flights?

In addition, a notable advantage of turboprop engines is that they can be more economical and environmentally friendly than turbofans. Indeed, an ATR 72, one of the best known turboprop engines, consumes an average of 810L of fuel per hour, while a B737 consumes an average of 3000L per hour. This represents a considerable saving of more than 2 liters per hour per passenger.

ATR 72 de HOP ! Air & Cosmos

However, today, turboprop engines are not used on long flights for three main reasons: the relatively small number of passengers they can carry, their low cruising speed and their low DMF. Indeed, to illustrate this, we can compare today’s turboprop-equipped aircraft with small turbofans such as the B737 or the Bombardiers CRJ.

Bombardier CRJ-1000 HOP !

For example, the ATR 72 cruising can fly at 554 km/h to carry about 50 passengers to a maximum distance of 1404 km. Its competitors, meanwhile, fly at around 850 km/h and can carry between 100 and 250 passengers at a distance of 3600 km for the CRJ and up to 5000 km for the B737.

This is why turboprops would not be advantageous for medium or long-haul flights. Indeed, it would take several trips or several planes to carry the same number of passengers as a B737. This is not economical for airlines, as they would have to have several aircraft in their fleet to go to a single destination. Also, this would involve significant maintenance costs.

Only in spite of these slight disadvantages came back to meet the plans of the manufacturers who want to revive the production of this type of aircraft by the end of the decade:

- Airbus zero-e turboprop prototype

One of the most famous. It is part of the ambitious project of the European manufacturer Airbus, which wants to develop airliners powered by hydrogen. Among these aircraft, there is a turboprop project that will be able to carry about 100 passengers over 2000km.

Project Turboprop Airbus zero-e

- Embraer project

Another example of a turboprop project that should be launched before 2028, the Embraer . . . . . . the Brazilian manufacturer wants to create a 90-seat aircraft capable of flying at speeds of more than 600km/h, a good step forward that could be useful for regional flights.

Turboprop Embraer

Bibliography and related articles that may interest you:

Article written by Pierre Couranjou Jules Jilcot

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