Conair (FGD, Abbotsford) has bought eleven DHC-8-Q400s from Hamburger EmissionsHaus, in a transaction facilitated by Skyworld Aviation. The airline will now convert the turboprops into DHC-8-Q400(AT) firefighting variants.

"After more than a decade of research and development, Conair’s answer to the future of aerial firefighting is the Q400AT, the most advanced airtanker in the world today. The purchase marks the most significant investment Conair has made to date towards developing a fleet of Next Generation aircraft designed to better fight wildfires for years to come," the Canadian special mission operator said in a press release.

"We evaluated 29 aircraft before selecting the Q400 for modification into an aerial firefighting tool. The unanimous opinion of our flight operations experts was that the Q400 exceeds all the Next Generation performance criteria within a manoeuvrable and stable platform. The Q400AT is fast, fuel-efficient, and tactically flexible, operating both initial attack as well as sustained support actions," Director of Business Development at Conair Jeff Berry added.

The 11 turboprops were previously operated by flybe. (2002) (Exeter). They are 12.4-years-old on average, are currently parked at Düsseldorf Weeze (10 aircraft) and Maastricht (one) airports, and are managed by Fintech Aviation Services. According to the ch-aviation fleets ownership module, they are the only Dash 8s owned by Hamburger EmissionsHaus. The German company also owns eleven CRJ1000ERs (seven leased by Air Nostrum, two by Hibernian Airlines, and two without an operator), three ATR72-500s leased by NoRRA Nordic Regional Airlines, and two ex-flybe. E175s without a new lessee.

For its part, Conair Aviation already operates three DHC-8-Q400(MRT)s, a nearly identical Dash 8 firefighting variant. Two were previously operated by Heli Malongo (Luanda 4 De Fevereiro) and one was delivered directly to Conair. The Canadian carrier has a further three units on firm order directly from De Havilland Aircraft of Canada (DHC, Toronto Downsview).

The Canadian carrier also operates three ARJ85 ATs, one Lockheed Electra, six Cessna (single turboprop) C208B Grand Caravans, five Convair 340s, four Convairs 440s, one Cessna 550, nine Turbo Commanders, one Cessna (single piston) A185F, twenty-three Air Tractor AT802s, and four Canadair CL215Ts. Its American subsidiary Aero Flite (Kingman) operates six ARJ85ATs and has a further six ARJ-85s under conversion.