Robin Hood, the Austrian regional budget airline, had a fleet composed of two Saab 340A aircraft. These could be used for business as well as economy passenger travel on short flights from the hub in Graz, Austria to airports in Stuttgart, Klagenfurt (Carinthia),and Zurich.

Robin Hood Saab 340 landing in Zurich Kloten
Ben King for WIkipedia

Saab 340A Specifications

The Saab 340A aircraft which Robin Hood Aviation used were registered s OE-GIR and OE-GOD. They could travel up to 515 km/hour and to a maximum range of 2145 km on the aircraft’s fuel tanks. Once in th air, the Saab 340A could attain an altitude of up to 7630m. When empty of cargo and passengers, Robin Hood’s planes weighed 7810kg. At takeoff, they could hold a maximum weight of 12,700kg including plane weight. The wingspan was 21.44m, and 41.8m2 wing area.

For the Saab 340A, three crew plus 33 passengers was the maximum seating capacity and the airplane held two General-Electric CT7-5A2 turboprop 1735 hp engines. The propellers were Dowty Rotol or Hamilton Stanard 14RF19 four-blade constant speed, one per engine and 3.34m in diameter. The 340A Saab was built from 1983 to 1999 and could be configured for passenger, VIP, and cargo use. With Robin Hood Aviation, the use was passenger/economy flights. Two pilots and one flight attendant were standard flight crew. The fuel load per wing averages 249 and 251 gallons per side for a total of 501 gallons of onboard fuel.

Similar Aircraft to the Saab 340A

In the same class and configuration, there are Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia, Antonov An-24, ATR 42, CASA CN-235, De Havilland Canada Dash 8, Dornier 328, Xian MA60, Bae Jetsream 41, and the Beechcraft 1900.

Saab 340A Comforts

Whether commuter or tourist travel, passengers had a selection of soft drinks, coffee, tea, beer, wine and snacks in addition to a free daily newspaper. Upon stepping into the airplane, passengers would have seen a series of very plain vinyl seats, two columns with one seat on the right and two on the left with 11 rows. No in-flight tv screens or music, but tray tables folding into the backs of seats. Plenty of overhead storage was available for passengers, along with individual light and air controls.

Saab 340A and Air Incidents

Up to 2013, the Saab 340A saw 13 hull-loss accidents, which resulted in the loss of 48 passengers. In 1990, there was an aircraft undercarriage accidental retraction, no lives lost. In 1993, there was a hard crash onto a runway by a Saab 340A which was due to excess ice on the wings, luckily again no fatalities. 1994 was the year a deadly KLM crash occurred when the engine stalled and the plane crashed into the ground, breaking into three pieces. Four people were killed.

In 1997 due to pilot error, a Saab 340A crashed into construction trenches at the Francisco de Sa Carneiro Airport, and although the undercarriage was destroyed, no one was injured. 1998 and 2000 were not so lucky for Saab 340A, in Taiwan electrical failure caused a crash just off the city of Hsinchu. Thirteen people were killed, and in 2000 near Zurich Airport, a Saab plane entered a high-speed spiral dive which caused it to crash into a field and killing everyone (ten people) on board.

From 2000 to 2015, Saab 340As overshot runways, made emergency out of fuel landings, had further undercarriage and undercarriage collapse issues, crashed due to unknown reasons killing 22 passengers, and suffered a right wing and right gear fracture which did not cause any fatalities. Since then, most Saab 340A have now been retired due to age.