Designing a new aircraft in the 90-seat class is no longer a priority, ATR CEO Patrick de Castelbajac explained yesterday here at the Farnborough International Airshow. “It was something my predecessor was very keen on, as were probably 95 percent of our employees and a number of our customers,” he stated. However, he pointed out that major shareholder Airbus Group believes “the timing is not now” for such an ambitious project.
News and issues relating specifically to regional airlines, including aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training; and coverage of annual conventions of the U.S. Regional Airline Association (RAA) and European Regions Airline Association (ERA).
Embraer has announced a string of orders this week here at Farnborough International 2014, for a total of 158 regional jets (if all options were exercised). The most prominent one came from Trans States Holdings, the parent company of Trans States Airlines, Compass Airlines and GoJet Airlines, for 50 E175-E2 airliners, plus an option for an additional 50. Its first E175 is expected to enter service in 2020.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation here on Monday announced a memorandum of understanding for 20 firm MRJ90 regional jets, with purchase rights for an additional 20 of the type, with Eastern Air Lines Group. Deliveries are scheduled to commence in 2019 and Boeing will support the aircraft.
Eastern Air Lines president and CEO Edward Wegel said the aircraft would be used on routes from the airline’s main base in Miami, Florida, to Latin America and the Caribbean. They will be operated in an 82-seat, two-class configuration, he added.
Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. has bought a new touch to the interior of its Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) mockup on display here at the Farnborough Airshow: a flanking pair of cabin dividers decorated with the traditional Japanese “Urushi-nuri Maki-e” lacquer art, created in collaboration with Wajima, a well known Urushi producer. One panel is fronted by an image of Mt. Fuji, the other by a Mejiro bird, and both are backed by ivy vines common to Japan.
When taking helm of a company that already owns a substantial portion of the regional aircraft market, one might be tempted to wonder if there’s anything more to be done. But Patrick de Castelbajac, who was appointed CEO of ATR at the beginning of June, knows there’s plenty of work left to do.
“When you’re at the top, the challenge is not only to stay at the top, but to find ways to continue to grow,” de Castelbajac told AIN. De Castelbajac follows Filippo Bagnato, whose four-year mandate, according to ATR’s statutes, expired at the end of May.
The past few years have not been easy for Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, the company’s product marketing director Noriyoshi Saito indicated yesterday here at the Farnborough International Airshow. The Japanese manufacturer is nevertheless proudly displaying a cabin mockup of its long delayed Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ).
Embraer is displaying a full-size mockup of the passenger cabin of its new E-Jet E2 airliner family for the first time in public here at the Farnborough Airshow. Visitors can view the mockup at the Embraer static display (Outdoor Exhibit 6).
During an exclusive showing for reporters on Sunday, Embraer executives said the new cabin is at an advanced stage in its design, after recommendations of an advisory board, which evaluated a previous mockup last fall, were considered. The manufacturer hopes to solicit comments on the design from customers during the airshow.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127N turboprop to power the ATR 72-600. The PW127N offers 4.5 percent more takeoff power for better hot-and-high performance. Plans call for the PW127N to progressively roll into Avianca’s ATR fleet throughout this year and next. ATR expects to deliver the first Avianca ATR 72-600 equipped with the new engines “in the coming weeks,” allowing the airline to benefit from better takeoff performance at high-altitude airports such as its hub in Bogota, Colombia.
Bombardier Aerospace delivered the first “enhanced” CRJ900 to American Airlines regional subsidiary PSA Airlines on June 5. Based in Dayton, Ohio, PSA plans to start operating the jet under the American Eagle brand “later this summer.” Formerly a US Airways Express subsidiary, it now flies 35 CRJ200s and 14 CRJ700s primarily out of Charlotte, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.
Flybe Finland has agreed to open new routes this summer from Helsinki to the Russian destinations of Nizhny Novgorod, Samara and Kazan on behalf of Finnair with Embraer E190s. Service to Nizhny Novgorod International Airport begins on July 25, flights to Samara’s Kurumoch International Airport start on August 7 and operations to Kazan International Airport commence on August 18. Plans call for flights to run three times per week on all three routes.
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