SAAB 340


The SF-340 was a cooperative venture between Saab-Scania and Fairchild Industries announced in January 1980. Fairchild was responsible for the design and manufacture of the wings, tail surfaces and the engine housings. Saab were responsible for the fuselage and remaining systems. The engines chosen were the General Electric CT-7 driving Dowty propellers. Saab (which provided 75% of the development costs) was also responsible for the systems integration, and flight testing. The first of two prototypes, SE-ISF, was first flown on January 25, 1983. The other was SE-ISA. The first production aircraft, SE-ISB, was flown on August 25, 1983. Certification was completed on June 29, 1984, and the first commercial operator was Crossair of Switzerland.

The aircraft was initially offered in two versions - an air transport configuration (up to 35 seats) and an executive version. Problems with inflight engine shutdowns saw the aircraft grounded, but the problem was soon rectified. In 1985 an uprated version with increased MTOW was offered, and provision made for existing aircraft to be modified. Fairchild withdrew from the project in October 1985, and the project became wholly Saabs. In 1987 a quick change freighter version (S340QC) and the S340B were introduced. The S340B again features an uprated powerplant with increased MTOW, and enlarged tail surfaces. An AEW version has also been developed for the Swedish military. Further developments include larger wings, and a 50 seat follow on version, the Saab 2000 which first flew in 1992.

The sole operater of the SF-340A in New Zealand has been Air Nelson since 1990. The company was formed as Air Motueka by Robert Inglis and Vicky Smith in 1984 using a Piper Aztec and then a Navajo across Cooks Strait. The name changed the following year. Government deregulation in 1985 meant new opportunities in the regional market. Steady growth followed by a 50% buy in by Air New Zealand in 1988 provided new opportunities. More capacity in the form of Metros was introduced in 1988. Then following Air New Zealand's withdrawal of the F-27 from domestic routes, the Saab 340 was introduced in 1990. The 34 seat configuration was found to be useful on many of the former Friendship routes. Initially operated in Crossair colours (as worn by the first arrivals) with Air Nelson titles, the aircraft (along with Hamilton based Air New Zealand subsidiary, Eagle Air) have featured the Air New Zealand Link livery since 1991. To accomodate the Saabs, Air Nelson has developed its own maintenance base at Nelson.

To date 18 of the type have been operated on leases of varying length. The current fleet (as at November 1, 1999) includes:

Previously utilised SF-340A aircraft include:

Last Update:- 12 November, 1999

Technical Data

Data is for the Saab 340B


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