|Darwin Airline Saab 2000 in Etihad Regional livery taking off at Düsseldorf Airport in 2014|
|First flight||26 March 1992|
|Introduction||30 August 1994|
|Primary users||Eastern Airways|
The Saab 2000 is a twin-engined high-speed turboprop airliner built by Saab. It is designed to carry 50-58 passengers and cruise at a speed of 665 km/h (413 mph). Production took place in Linköping in southern Sweden. The Saab 2000 first flew in March 1992 and was certified in 1994. The last aircraft was delivered in April 1999, a total of 63 aircraft being built. By July 2018, 24 Saab 2000s were in airline service.
In December 1988, Saab decided to build a stretched derivative of its successful Saab 340 twin-turboprop regional airliner. The new aircraft was planned to meet a perceived demand for a high-speed 50-seat turboprop with good climb performance which could operate over short- and medium-range routes with similar block times to jet aircraft while retaining the efficiency provided by turboprop engines. The new airliner, called the Saab 2000, was formally launched in May 1989, with Saab already having firm orders for 46 aircraft and options for a further 147. The aircraft was assembled at Saab's Linköping factory, with major subcontractors including CASA, who built the aircraft's wings, Short Brothers, who built the rear fuselage and Valmet who built the aircraft's tail surfaces. The Saab 2000 first flew on 26 March 1992 and entered into scheduled airline service in September 1994, a few months after its certification by the Joint Aviation Authorities in March and the Federal Aviation Administration in April.
The Saab 2000 has a 15% greater wingspan than the Saab 340, and being 7.55 metres (24 ft 9 in) longer can carry up to 58 passengers in a high-density layout and 50 with a more comfortable 32 inches (81 cm) seat pitch. 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. The primary reason for the low sales was the success of 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.
General Motors (GM) operated several corporate-configured Saab 2000s and was in talks with new startup 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.Air Marshall Islands also operated a Saab 2000 in the remote Micronesia island region of the Pacific Ocean.
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 well on shuttle services in the U.K. for oil and gas personnel working in the North Sea.
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.
By July 2018, 24 Saab 2000s were in airline service.
As of 2017, the only operator of the Saab 2000 in scheduled passenger operations in the U.S. is PenAir flying code sharing service on behalf of Alaska Airlines between Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) and several destinations in the state of Alaska.
As of October 2019, a total of 16 Saab 2000s remained in civilian airline service, operated by:
The following airlines formerly operated Saab 2000 aircraft in scheduled passenger service in the past:
Data from Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era