St. George, Utah-based SkyWest Airlines began flying as a US Airways Express partner on December 16, when it launched six daily flights from US Airways’ hub in Phoenix. The new three-year contact calls for SkyWest Airlines to operate some 49 flights to 19 destinations by the spring and includes an option for US Airways to switch equipment to CRJ700s.
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).
Raytheon Aircraft no longer owns part of Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Great Lakes Aviation, following the airline’s November 16 repurchase of all common stock owned by the one-time Beech 1900 manufacturer. According to Great Lakes’ third-quarter 10Q filing with the SEC, the airline entered into new financing agreements with GB Merchant Partners and Crystal Capital, allowing it to settle its obligations with Raytheon Aircraft. Terms of the financing include a four-year term loan of $24 million and a revolving loan credit facility under which the company may borrow $10 million.
The Regional Airline Association (RAA) board of directors elected officers for 2012 during last month’s first American Association of Airport Executives/RAA Airport & Regional Airline Executive Summit in Memphis. American Eagle’s Dan Garton becomes RAA chairman; ExpressJet’s Brad Holt, vice chairman; Cape Air’s Dave Bushy, secretary; and Empire Airlines’ Tim Komberec, treasurer. The board also elected Air Wisconsin’s Jim Rankin and Jazz Air’s Joe Randell to its executive advisory committee.
Australia’s Skywest Airlines plans to introduce five more ATR 72-600s leased from Singapore’s Avation PLC, which placed a firm order for the airplanes with ATR last month. Scheduled for delivery from early 2013 through early 2014, the five new aircraft will fly as Virgin Australia under a wet-lease contract with Skywest.
The FAA has proposed levying a $777,000 fine against Seattle-based Horizon Air for allegedly operating 32 Bombardier Q400s on 49,870 flights while the airplanes didn’t comply with FARs. The FAA alleges Horizon installed new external lighting systems on the aircraft, but did not conduct required tests for radio frequency and electromagnetic interference before returning the aircraft to service. Horizon operated the aircraft between Oct. 19, 2009 and Mar. 17, 2010, before the FAA discovered the compliance problems during routine surveillance.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Gulfstream International Airlines continues its transformation with a name change–to Silver Airways Corp.
The airline emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, when its new owner, Chicago-based asset management firm Victory Park Capital, provided $5 million in debtor-in-possession funding.
Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines last month announced that it had begun what it called a comprehensive program to cut costs and enhance liquidity, centering on initiatives to modify its agreements with mainline airline partners, equipment lessors, debt holders, real estate lessors and vendors.
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft flight crew in late November conducted the first two automatic Category IIIa landings in the Superjet 100. Flying Superjet prototype MSN95004 from the Zhukovsky airfield near Moscow, chief pilot Alexander Yablontsev and test pilot Vadim Shirokikh tested the airplane’s ability to land under Cat IIIa using differing wing configurations, said Sukhoi.
Singapore-based aircraft leasing company BOC Aviation has placed a firm order for 15 Embraer E190s, the Brazilian manufacturer announced in late November. Embraer’s newest aircraft leasing customer expects deliveries to start in the fourth quarter of this year and run through 2014.
Lao Airlines, the national airline of Laos, expects to take delivery of its first Avic “Modern Ark” MA600 turboprop “sometime after February,” marking the 56-seat turboprop’s entry into revenue service outside China. The only other two existing MA600s, delivered in December 2010 and September 2011, respectively, operate in China with the Civil Aviation Flight University of China (Cafuc) for training purposes.