Global passenger air traffic is projected to double over the next 15 years with an unprecedented 6.6 billion travelers anticipated by 2030, according to a report from the latest bi-annual meeting of the Global Aerospace Summit (2014). Positioned to meet this increase in passenger air travel is TRJet, a new entrant into the global aviation market, and the industry’s next Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).
While global passenger traffic overall grew 5% from 2008 to 2013, traffic between the Middle East and Asia grew 41%, and air travel between the Middle East and Europe saw 33.8% growth, according to the report’s authors.
"The industry’s center of gravity is shifting from West to East. While North America and Europe have previously seen the majority of global passenger traffic, we are now seeing increased growth in the Middle East and Asia," said Cem Ugur, a TRJet executive officer. "With TRJet headquarters in Ankara, Turkey, we’re at the epicenter of this growth and uniquely positioned to meet the increasing demand."
TRJet will produce the 32-passenger 328 series aircraft and develop the 628 concept aircraft as part of the Turkish Regional Aircraft Project. These aircraft are targeted to fill an acute gap in the market for commercial aviation, making possible direct flights between small cities currently not feasible using larger airplanes.
"Regional aircraft, those under 100 passengers, are ideal for making short-range flights more economical and sustainable," added Ugur. "The TRJet aircraft will address an unmet market need, further stimulating regional trade and increasing leisure travel."
A substantial replacement market already exists for 30-to 90-seat regional aircraft. According to the 2015 Flightglobal Fleet Forecast, more than 4,000 regional jet and turboprop aircraft of this size will need to be replaced in the commercial market due to the aging fleet over the next 20 years. During this time, 4,700 new aircraft deliveries are expected, with additional demand for non-commercial uses such as VIP and multi-mission aircraft.
To meet this need, TRJet will utilise a modernised version of the Dornier 328 aircraft to first produce the TRJ328™ jet and the turboprop variant. With the first flight of the 328 series anticipated for 2019, it will serve as a stepping stone toward production of the 628 series, which will mark the Republic of Turkey’s first domestically-designed passenger aircraft with its first flight anticipated for 2023.
The regional aircraft are expected to also support feeder networks operating out of hubs for airlines with bigger airplanes, further stimulating the economy.
Both the 328 and 628 series are versatile aircraft and can land on unpaved runways, increasing accessibility to smaller airports. The 328 series has multiple uses and has certified options for VIP, cargo, military mission, maritime patrol and air ambulance use, in addition to commercial passenger travel.