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Will long haul passenger turboprops make a come back?

The turboprop using quite dated technology is around 50% more efficient than a turbofan, and in the context of

- climate change this seems a quick road to meeting emissions targets by the airline industry
- more compact airport infrastructure on the simple basis they can operate from shorter runways with a smaller noise footprint
- likely demise of the jumbo passenger model with distributed networks and less hub and spoke, especially post CV19
- the turboprop is more adaptable to hybrid electric technology

Why are airline investors (if any are left!) not looking to commission an updated, efficient, long haul turboprop fleet?

Southampton seeking planning to extend their runway to accommodate jets is complete madness – hopefully governments will come round to this thinking and use turboprops as a road to meeting airline emission targets.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)

It’s a good point. What about passenger comfort, noise and vibration? Large propellers create issues there, and the basic technical/efficiency issue as I understand it is the benefit of large disk area over small disk area. Ducted fans reduce noise, but don’t increase disk area as much.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 25 Jun 19:38

Maybe short haul, but long haul is questionable, for two reasons
– much longer flight times combined with the need to carry the fuel will reduce the efficiency advantage over the jet
– the efficiency advantage is less at high altitudes, again favouring jets for long haul.

And in the grand scheme of things, even halving airline emissions will reduce global CO2 emissions by 1%, hardly worth bothering if you want to get 50% or 100% (carbon neutrality means exactly that, although some offsetting or capture could also be used)

Biggin Hill

Adding to what has been said: pax perceptions. To the average punter, if it’s not a jet, it will fall out of the sky any time soon.

As an aside – whatever became of the unducted fan ? IIRC these things were more efficient that both jets and ‘normal’ props but somehow never made it into production, except perhaps on military hardware.

Adding to what has been said: pax perceptions. To the average punter, if it’s not a jet, it will fall out of the sky any time soon.

In my part of the world this is not true. The top priority here is a cheap ticket. Number two is probably a direct flight. A little bit of noise could easily be compensated with some free booze. Even non economy size people buy the cheapest seats. Business travel might be a little bit different but not by much because most companies more and more try to save on travel costs. I therefore don’t see any reason why a turboprop shouldn’t be used on a flight from Munich to Amsterdam. But Amsterdam to Bangkok would probably take to long. But on the other hand, if it’s overnight and depending on time zones the flight duration may not be much of an issue in the end.

EDQH, Germany

A ban on internal flights would kill off commuter turboprops in most of mainland Europe…

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

These are the routes which are today often being flown by planes like the Q400 and similar. But I thought we are talking about the replacement of jets by turboprops, aren’t we? I’m thinking Paris to Dublin and not FRA-MUC. In Central Europe flying does often make no sense, anyway. At least in the Form we see today. The last time I thought I was going to fly I was sent on a half hour hike, had to hop on a train and finally take a ride on a bus. Eventually I was allowed to board an A320 for a two and a half hour flight. As long as this does not change (and it won’t, it’s going to get worse) flying slower doesn’t make it worse.

EDQH, Germany

Clipperstorch wrote:

In Central Europe flying does often make no sense, anyway.

What you may miss here is that many (most) short flights in Central Europe are feeders. I have to do this twice a year. LH to FRA and then on a short hop to a regional city. That flight takes something like 45 minutes, but about 99% of pax transfer from/to some LH flight. Of course, these facts are conveniently overlooked by the greenies and other politicians eager to jump on the green bandwagon. If I’m being forced to take a stinking, filthy train, I will do that last leg by rental car. Prob90 defeats the intent of the greenies, but I couldn’t care any much less.

While I agree to discuss the issue of infinite growth vs. finite resources, I’d like to see those that have selected aviation as a main target first use a train for e.g. London-Barcelona ;)

EASA CB IR Training

Yes indeed; London to Brighton is bad enough during commuter time

Most short haul flights are feeders, so if e.g. you live in Scotland you need to drive to say Glasgow (which could be hours), fly to one of the London airports (which would be an all day journey otherwise, with hotel stays as a result), and then fly out to the Greek island or whatever. Accordingly, very few Scots are seen in Greece

I think the main legacy of this crisis will be a reduction in business flights, due to video conferencing. The current evidence is that the general population is absolutely desperately booking holidays.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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