The Saab 2000 is a turboprop airplane able to cruise at a speed of 665 km/h.
|Darwin Airline Saab 2000|
|First flight||26 March 1992|
|Introduction||30 August 1994|
|Status||Out of production|
|Primary users||Eastern Airways
|Number built||63 (57 still in service)|
|Developed from||Saab 340|
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 company had previously introduced the smaller Saab 340 twin turboprop aircraft. 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 58 passengers. The 2000 was the first commercial aircraft to use the 4,591shp 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 further from the fuselage than those of the 340 to reduce cabin noise.
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, with the last aircraft being delivered to Crossair on 29 April of that year.General Motors (GM) operated several corporate-configured Saab 2000s and was in talks with new start-up air carrier Pro Air to have this airline operate them in scheduled service as Pro Air Express in the U.S.; however, Pro Air then encountered financial difficulties and ceased all operations before the deal could be consummated.
By the year 2013, 57 Saab 2000 aircraft remained in service. The primary reason for the low sales was the success of the newly introduced 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.
In June 2006, Pakistan completed 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 the Government of Pakistan, only five aircraft will be delivered, four of which will be equipped with the Erieye system. On 3 April 2008, the first Saab 2000 Erieye AEW&C was rolled out and presented to Pakistan Air Force officials during a ceremony in Sweden.
Saab 2000 fleet list, correct at September 2013, from Saab Aircraft Leasing:
Two prototype aircraft have been dismantled (#001 #003). #002 (non airworthy) is used for engineering training at Flygteknik Technical Training in Nykoping, Sweden. Two have been written off (#047, #053).