Air Transport World

Raising the roof. (Beech Aircraft's transport plane enters market)(includes article on history of the company)

Hannover-Chester Schickling appeared nonplussed about his task of selling Beech Aircraft's new 1900D to European operators who seem to be following the industry trend toward larger commuterliners.

"We do not dispel [the notion] that there is a 30-passenger-plus dominance," said Beech's new sales manager-international marketing during the Hannover Air Show. "But there will always be a market for a 19-passenger aircraft," particularly now that hub-bypass operations are growing as a result of increased congestion at major European hubs, he added.

To strengthen its presence in Europe, Beech announced here that it plans to open an office in either Brussels or Copenhagen dedicated specifically to the sale and support of regional-airline equipment. The company displayed many of its products at the air show, including the long-awaited Starship, the ubiquitous Super King Air 300, this one painted in Finnair livery, a few smaller general-aviation aircraft and the 1900C, the current production regional airliner that will be replaced eventually by the faster D-model.

"Before the economic changes occur in Europe in 1993, we want to establish ourselves as a premier manufacturer of regional airliners," said Schickling boldly.

Beech's longtime commuter-sales expert admits to some obstacles. European regional airlines' customers count on speed and comfort. And the 1900D may have enough of one-speed-but not enough of the other. In addition, there is the problem of overcapacity at many major European hubs. Rate-hike plans for general-aviation and regional aircraft, like the one proposed by Boston's Massport but later shot down by a U.S. court, are being considered for some of Europe's larger hubs. Discriminatory rate-hike plans do not bode well for manufacturers of small regional aircraft. Still, Schickling remains undaunted. "Yes, the stage lengths in Europe are longer but this aircraft will have the speed, comfort and baggage capacity to handle the operator's needs. …

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