The story that tells the economic fortunes of smaller metropolitan airfields in Europe is very much a tale of several cities. Many find themselves in a veritable “Catch-22”–they can expand their operations as long as arriving and departing aircraft meet local neighborhood rules. But increased services aggravate negative public perception of the noise they generate.
Aviation International News » March 2006
Among the big jets filling the ramp at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the small green and yellow ATR twin turboprops of Tanzanian regional carrier Precision Air Services feel quite at home. Seven times a day they land and take off to carry passengers to all the principal destinations in neighboring Tanzania, serving both business and leisure markets and proving a perfect match for equity partner Kenya Airways.
It took a while for the message to register, but Bombardier finally heeded the airline market’s counsel in late January and shelved its languishing C Series program. Although it will retain a staff of about 50 for studies on a small mainline jet, the company has begun shifting most of the financial and human resources once dedicated to the C Series to other programs, most notably studies on a new 90- to 100-seat regional jet.
Bankrupt Mesaba Airlines has asked a bankruptcy court judge to void contracts with its three labor unions after employees refused to agree to a 19.4-percent cut in payroll costs. In response, the airline’s pilots, flight attendants and mechanics staged protests at Minneapolis-St.
Last month’s Regco order for 10 Q400s accompanied a flurry of minor transactions for Bombardier since AIN’s February issue went to press, starting with a contract for a pair of 74-seat Q400s from South African Airways.
Regco Holdings CEO Robert Deluce last month announced his intention to proceed with plans to base a new regional airline at Toronto Island Airport this year. The new carrier, called Porter Airlines, would fly 10 new 70-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprops to 17 Canadian and U.S. destinations within a 500-nm radius of Toronto.
A helicopter service connecting Manhattan with New York City airports is due to start this month. On March 13 US Helicopter will introduce an eight-minute S-76B flight between the Wall Street Heliport and JFK Airport. The company will add services linking La Guardia and Newark Liberty International to Wall Street and the East 34th and 30th Street Heliports later this year.
Eurocopter last year secured orders for 401 new civil/parapublic and military helicopters, up from 322 in 2004. Valued at E3.52 billion ($4.22 billion), the orders represent a year-on-year hike of 10 percent. Civil and parapublic helicopters accounted for 46 percent of the value.
In January, the Helicopter Association International (HAI) urged its members to press their Congressional representatives to support improved communications and weather services over the Gulf of Mexico.
On January 25 the NTSB Office of Aviation Safety presented a special investigation report on EMS and helicopter EMS (HEMS) operations, attributing a number of EMS accidents to the safety deficiencies allegedly inherent in the less stringent Part 91 rules, which are in place when no patients or organs are on board. The agency invested 3,500 man hours investigating the 55 most recent accidents, 35 of which occurred without patients aboard.