ROLE OF THE TURBOPROP IN THE AIR TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM FOR THE 1980'S AND ONWARD 801197
The explosion in fuel prices over the past several years, along with projected increases well above other costs, has dramatically altered the relative economics of turbofan and turboprop aircraft. New development in turboprop technology, in association with increased abandonment of short-haul routes by certificated air carriers with jet equipment, is resulting in fuel-efficient turboprops that could spawn a new family of short-haul commercial transport aircraft. To assess the likelihood and potential benefits of such a development, the current and projected technology of turboprop aircraft will be discussed and compared with possible turbofan systems. Technological improvements as measured by fuel burned and aircraft operating costs are compared for aircraft sizes up to 100 passengers at ranges up to 850 miles.
The historical development of the U.S. short-haul air travel market, related to equipment availability, will be reviewed. Projections of future development of this market based on inherent demand factors and spurred by new technology aircraft will be discussed.