Commercial single-engine turboprop (SET) operations in instrument meteorological conditions and at night, approved by the European Union in March, are on track to begin this October, Nicolas Chabbert, senior v-p of French manufacturer Daher (Booth U118), affirmed here at EBACE. “This is a major milestone,” he said, laying out a case for Daher’s TBM 910 and TMB 930 as the platforms best suited to serve this new European market. “Europe will call for using the latest avionics,” he said, pointing to the TBM 910, introduced this year, equipped with the new Garmin G1000 NXi integrated flight deck; and the TBM 930, which debuted last year, and is equipped with the Garmin G3000 touchscreen-controlled avionics system. Except for their flight decks, the TBM 910 and TBM 930 (about €3.5/$3.9 million and €3.7/$4.1 million respectively) are identical.
The charter market will also demand enhanced cabin comforts and, said Chabbert, “We’ve been thinking more and more about the passenger”–citing the TBM’s quick-change passenger cabin configuration and toilet privacy compartment option.
The TBM can access 1,300 airports in Europe, 44 percent more than light jets, opening new destinations to commercial operations. French charter operator Voldirect has been providing charter service since 2013 with a TBM, under an exemption granted by the French government, and has now logged more than 1,200 charter flights without any safety issues. This October Voldirect will shift to operating under European Union authorization, becoming the first such SET operator.
In the interim, Daher is stepping up support for customers interested in SET commercial operations. “The phone is starting to ring with new operators,” Chabbert said. The company is offering assistance with approval documents, maintenance programs adapted for charter needs, and other services.
Thus far 194 TBM 900/910/930 SETs have been ordered and 170 delivered, Daher reported.