Air New Zealand Link is the brand name of Air New Zealand’s subsidiary regional airlines. It was introduced in 1991 to standardise the three regional airlines’ branding that operated feeder flights for Air New Zealand. These were Mount Cook Airline, Air Nelson and Eagle Airways, who ceased operations in 2016.
The De Havilland Canada Dash 8 (DHC-8) is a Canadian twin-engine regional airliner developed from the Dash 7 with improved cruise performance, lower operational costs but without STOL. Its maiden flight took place on June 20, 1983, entering service in 1984 with NorOntair, and Piedmont Airlines. Manufactured in four variants: the initial 37–40 seat -100, the more powerful -200, the stretched 50–56 seats -300, and the 68–90 seats -400. The Q Series is post-1997 production with an active noise control system. Only the Q-400 remains in production.
DHC was bought by Boeing in 1988, then sold to Bombardier in 1992. Longview Aviation Capital purchased the manufacturing rights to the Q-400 in 2019 and revived the de Havilland Canada brand.
Airframe construction is mainly of aluminium alloy, a semi-monocoque fuselage. The high mounted tapered wings and T-tail assembly are of cantilever design. The retractable undercarriage is a tricycle type; the primary units are mounted in the aft section of the engine nacelles, retracting rearwards the steerable nose wheel retracts forward. Flight crew consists of a pilot and copilot, and the passenger cabin typically seats up to 90, depending on variant.
The Dash 8 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW100 turboprop engines mounted on wings, driving four-bladed Hamilton Sundstrand 14SF-23 propellers or Dowty six-blade R408 propellers. The -300 has a cruise speed of 529 km/h (328 mph), a 7,620 m (25,000 ft) service ceiling and a range of 1,711 km (1,063 mi).