When Bombardier and Embraer ended mass production of their respective 50-seat jets by 2006, it appeared that the regional airline industry’s love affair with the little RJs had run its course. With most major airline scope clauses relaxed to allow 70- and even 76-seat jets in their regional partners’ fleets, demand for the less cost-effective 50-seaters had essentially evaporated.
Aviation International News » September 2008
Pinnacle Airlines will remove from service 10 of subsidiary Colgan Air’s 40 Saab 340Bs next month as part of a plan to reduce its exposure to pro-rate flying, the company announced last month. The retirements will result in the removal of 12 markets from the Colgan system, all currently flown under the US Airways and United Express brands.
St. George, Utah-based SkyWest on September 8 will drop service to seven airports from Milwaukee as financially troubled code-share partner Midwest Airlines moves to cut systemwide capacity by 34 percent. The cuts involve Baltimore/Washington; Hartford, Conn.; Louisville, Ky.; Muskegon, Mich.; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; St. Louis; and Wausau, Wis.
Republic Airways and Delta Air Lines in late July reached an agreement to remove the Indianapolis-based regional airline’s final eleven 37-seat Embraer ERJ 135s from service. Original schedules called for Republic to remove the airplanes at a rate of two per month between this coming November and April next year. The revised agreement resulted in the removal of three aircraft on July 31, followed by four on August 31.
Delta Air Lines has notified Mesa Air Group that it plans to cancel its contract to fly Bombardier CRJ900s. The notice, sent August 1, marks the second attempt by Delta to remove Mesa-flown jets from its system in recent months. A federal judge in late May issued an injunction barring Delta from ending Mesa’s contract to fly ERJ 145s.
Biggin Hill, UK-based helicopter charter operator Sky Charter has been designated the UK dealer for PZL Swidnik rotorcraft. The company has ordered three SW4 light singles and is expecting deliveries next spring.
The FAA has reached agreements with four U.S. airlines to fund in-cockpit runway safety systems, in this case electronic flight bags (EFBs), in exchange for the operational data those systems would generate. Under the plan, the FAA will provide $600,000 each to SkyWest Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, US Airways and Southwest Airlines to invest in the new technology in airplanes they’ll fly into and out of 21 testbed airports.
Residents of the Saint-Tropez gulf, on the French Riviera, are threatening to block helipads and the road through Saint-Tropez if the city does not make progress on addressing helicopter noise. Every summer, wealthy visitors to Saint-Tropez make extensive use of helicopters, either private or chartered, to bypass traffic jams on the busy roads.
Operators of Mil helicopters meeting at Russia’s Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (UUAP) in late July heard how the Mil-171 led rescue operations for victims of the recent earthquake in China’s Sichuan province. Of the 137 Russian, Chinese, French and U.S. helicopters involved in the effort, 74 were Mi-171s, and these were responsible for rescuing more than 37,000 people (of a total of around 60,000).
The around-the-world helicopter speed record fell hard on August 18.
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