31 Years Of Flight: Which Operators Still Fly The Saab 2000?
The Saab 2000 was a larger development of the earlier Saab 340, with the Swedish manufacturer producing just 63 of these turboprops between 1992 and 1999. Today marks the 31st anniversary of the type’s first flight, which took place on March 26th, 1992. With this milestone approaching, almost half of all Saab 2000s remain in service today, in all corners of the world. Let’s see where you can find them.
The largest operator
According to data made available by ch-aviation.com, there are presently 30 active examples of the Saab 2000 that are still flying today. These are spread across seven operators, of which the largest is none other than the Pakistan Air Force. This division of the Asian country’s military currently operates seven standard Saab 2000s, as well as five modified Saab 2000 AEW&C aircraft.
The standard examples are 26.5 years old on average, and seat 50 occupants in a three-abreast configuration. They previously flew for the likes of Braathens Regional Airways, Carpatair, Hop, and SWISS, before joining the Pakistan Air Force between 2008 and 2018. The youngest example (24.05 years old) bears the registration J062, while, at the other end of the spectrum, 27.92-year-old J019 is the oldest.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Air Force’s five Saab 2000 AEW&Cs (Airborne Early Warning & Control) play a rather different role. Instead of transporting people, they sport Erieye radar systems, which protrude above the fuselage as seen in the photograph below. Pakistan acquired these aircraft which are 26.1 years old on average, between 2009 and 2020. Their ages range from 24.86 to 27.51 years old.
Home, sweet home
Closer to home, you can also find several active examples of the Saab 2000 in the manufacturer’s Swedish homeland. Four of these aircraft are currently flying for Swedish virtual carrier Frost Air, although they bear Estonian registrations due to being on lease from NyxAir. These aircraft are 26.8 years old on average, and are configured with the Saab 2000’s standard 50-seat three-abreast layout.
Meanwhile, Saab itself also still possesses two of these turboprop aircraft. They continue to play an important role at Saab, with ch-aviation noting that they operate its staff shuttle. Registered as SE-LRA and SE-LTV, data from FlightRadar24.com shows that they primarily fly within Sweden on such business. They also sometimes serve foreign cities such as Tampere (Finland) and Warsaw (Poland).
Despite essentially serving as corporate aircraft, these turboprops have retained the Saab 2000’s standard 50-seat configuration. That being said, they do offer a generous standard seat pitch of 34 inches. They have served a wide range of European regional carriers over the years, including the likes of BRA, Carpatair, Deutsche BA, Nordic Regional Airlines, and SWISS, to name just a few.
Of course, Saab 2000 operators aren’t just limited to Pakistan and Sweden. Indeed over in the US, Freight Runners Express has five active Saab 2000s in its present fleet. These are joined by two inactive examples, and their collective average age of 27.4 years old. Meanwhile, Texan carrier Meregrass Air Charter is also home to a three-aircraft Saab 2000 fleet, whose average age is 26.8 years old.
Photo: Adam Loader/Shutterstock
Elsewhere in the US, Jacksonville-headquartered carrier Sterling Airways is currently leasing its two-50-seat Saab 2000s out to Alaska Seaplanes. Registered as N462PA and N687PA, these turboprop aircraft are 26.01 and 27.76 years old respectively. The latter has had a particularly interesting service life, as, from March 2008 to December 2015, it flew for NASCAR team Joe Gibbs Racing.
Finally, there is also another military operator of the Saab 2000. Specifically, the Royal Saudi Air Force flies two Saab 2000 AEW&C aircraft for radar purposes. Both of these turboprops began their careers at Italy’s Med Airlines.
Are you a fan of the Saab 2000? What are your memories of traveling on this aircraft? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!
Source: ch-aviation.com, FlightRadar24.com
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