Apparently done pouring 50-seat jet capacity into a system overflowing with Embraer 145s, Continental Airlines continues to explore the possibility of adding more turboprops to its network, according to Continental managing director of scheduling and planning Karen Zachary.
Air Transport and Cargo
News and issues relating to international air transport and cargo carriers, national airlines and regional airlines, including aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training.
Having dropped regional operations rather than continue losing money into the winter season, Netherlands-based Denim Air group plans to offer enhanced wet-lease services and may add regional jets, according to airline CEO Matthijs Boertien. Poor profitability and increased competition in key German, Italian and Swiss markets saw subsidiary Denim Airways cease scheduled flights in September.
Following earlier unsuccessful efforts, revival of the 79- and 107-seat Fokker 70 and 100 regional jets could now depend on the development of a “new, more modern engine,” according to Rekkof chairman Jaap Rosen Jacobson. Rekkof acquired F70/F100 tooling and design rights after the Dutch manufacturer’s 1996 failure.
Twilight has fallen unceremoniously on the heyday of the 50-seat regional jet, and Bombardier’s October 28 announcement that it would suspend production of the CRJ200 only underscored that fact. Of course, the recent bankruptcies of Northwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Independence Air haven’t helped, but signs of a meltdown came long before any CRJ operators stopped deliveries or started grounding airplanes.
A trade accord between Brazilian president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Russian president Vladimir Putin reached during Lula’s October visit to Moscow called for, among many other things, an appraisal of a possible co-production deal involving Embraer and Russia’s Aviakor.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) placed a firm order for seven new 48-seat ATR 42-500s during a November 2 signing ceremony in Karachi. PIA plans to replace its aging Fokker F27s with the Franco-Italian turboprops starting in May. ATR estimates the value of the contract at $100 million.
A Michigan-based company with operations in the Caribbean last month was in the process of buying the assets of Smyrna, Tenn.-based American Connection operator Regions Air. Viva International, owner of San Juan, Puerto Rico-based charter firm Eastern Caribbean Airlines, wants to add four Saab 340As to the airline’s current fleet of 12 Jetstream 31s, which now serve 11 cities from St. Louis, eight under Essential Air Service (EAS) contracts.
Mesaba Aviation won a motion it filed last month against its fellow Chapter 11 petitioner and mainline partner Northwest Airlines for withholding more service contract payments. Mesaba, which subleases its Avro RJs and part of its Saab 340 fleet from Northwest, claimed that Northwest withheld $5.2 million in retaliation for the regional airline’s suspension of lease payments–a practice allowed under U.S.
Independence Air and parent company FLYi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, ending a year-and-a-half-long wait for what many considered an inevitable financial collapse. A big money loser since it broke ties with former code-share partner United Airlines, the former Atlantic Coast Airlines said it would seek approval to sell itself in a court auction.
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has proposed a standard that will define air quality and comfort levels on commercial airplanes, but it is not related to any FAA study or any planned rulemaking.