Posted on: 13 May 2015
As Saab Aircraft Leasing (SAL) winds down to closure, the Saab 2000 is about to enter airline service in the United States for the first time – more than 20 years since its global entry into revenue service with Crossair.
SAL president Michael Magnusson reported that Anchorage, Alaska-based Pen-Air is to take three Saab 2000s, with the first aircraft being delivered in the fourth quarter of this year (4Q15).
Bob Wikowitz, vice-president of business development, Jetstream Aviation Capital, from which the aircraft will be leased, noted that all three aircraft will be with Pen-Air by the end of 1Q16. Jetstream was formed in 2010 and has about 50 aircraft of which 40% are Saabs.
Magnusson remarked that Pen-Air, which has flown all models of the Saab 340, will use the 2000s primarily on the route between Anchorage and Dutch Harbor. “The [latter] airport has a 4,100 ft runway and is more than 600 miles from Anchorage. Very few aeroplanes can do that mission,” he declared. “This route has a lot of traffic. Because of limitations, Pen-Air’s Saab 340s operated with only 23 seats and the journey took around three hours. The Saab 2000 will use 45 seats and the journey time will be about two hours.”
Some modifications, including automatic flap retraction, will be carried out at Worldwide Aircraft Services of Springfield, MO, before the aircraft are painted by C&L Aerospace. The aeroplanes for Pen-Air were formerly with an autoracing team. “So they have low-time on them,” Wikowitz highlighted.
The modifications will make the aircraft FAR121 compliant. “It’s always been a [FAR] 121 aircraft but some upgrades are required, such as 9/11 cockpit doors.
As for SAL’s closure, Magnusson explained that it was set up when production ended. “It was designed to run to 2015. The hast head leases and Swedish export guarantees were all due to expire and indeed have done so. We are now selling the last aeroplane and shutting SAL.”
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net
Cleveland, Ohio, USA