Design and Development
Saab decided to build the 2000 in December 1988 due to perceived demand for a high speed turboprop which could approach the speeds of jet aircraft while retaining the efficiency provided by turboprop engines. The Saab 2000 first flew on 26 March 1992 and entered into scheduled airline service in 1994, a few months after its certification by the Joint Aviation Authorities in March and the Federal Aviation Administration in April.
The Saab 2000 had a 15% greater wingspan than the Saab 340, and being over 24 ft. 9 in. (7.55m) longer could fit up to 50 passengers. The 2000 was the first commercial aircraft to use Rolls-Royce AE 2100 turboprop engines (then built by Allison), driving slow turning six-bladed Dowty Rotol propellers. One engine was mounted on each wing, as in the 340, with the engines placed farther from the fuselage than those of the 340.
Production and operational service
Sales of the Saab 2000 were fairly limited. The major initial customer was Crossair, a regional airline which had Swissair as a 56% shareholder. Crossair took delivery of 34 aircraft and was still operating the type in 2005. Due to limited demand, Saab ceased production of the Saab 2000 in 1999.
By the year 2000, 54 Saab 2000 aircraft remained in service. The primary reason for the low sales was the success of the newly introduced low-cost regional jets such as the Bombardier CRJ and Embraer ERJ 145 family which provided better performance and passenger comfort for the same initial price. Some smaller airlines, including Eastern Airways in the UK, have subsequently acquired 2000s at low cost and operated them on regional routes which experience lower passenger numbers.
As of April 2008, here is a fleet list from Saab Aircraft Leasing:
Three a/c have been broken up (#001-#003), two have been written off (#047 & #053)
In June 2006, Pakistan finalized the purchase of six Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft to be equipped with the Saab-Ericsson ERIEYE Airborne Early Warning system. Revised in May 2007 due to renegotiation with Government of Pakistan, only five airplanes will be delivered. Finally on April 03, 2008 the Pakistani Air Force acquired the Saab 2000 AEW&C with a hand-over ceremony in Sweden.
Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mehmood Ahmad was also present on the occasion. According to PAF spokesman, inclusion of Saab 2000 is vital for meeting Pakistan’s security requirements and a big milestone in modernizing PAF fleet.
Published - July 2009
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