The Teamsters union announced in late May that its pilot members from Gulfstream International Airlines agreed to a new five-year labor contract with management. According to a union statement, the new contract provides a “significant increase” in the ability of each pilot to modify his or her own schedule to accommodate personal needs.
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).
The first ATR 72-500 ever delivered to a Russian airline now operates with UTair, the Siberian aviation company that recently placed an order for 20 of the type for its regional airline based in Khanty Mansiysk. Officially closed in late April and valued at $426 million at list prices, the contract calls for delivery of the new 70-seat turboprops through the end of next year.
Former Frontier Airlines boss Sean Menke will succeed Phil Trenary as CEO of Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines, the regional carrier announced in late May. A managing partner at Denver-based Vista Strategic Group, Menke assumes his new duties on July 1. Trenary resigned his position on March 24, leaving interim leadership of the company to chairman of the board Donald Breeding.
In late May Embraer celebrated the entry into service of the first of two E190s with Air Astana, the national flag carrier of Kazakhstan, in a ceremony at the airline’s headquarters, in Almaty. The airline operates the airplane on a lease agreement from Florida’s Jetscape. Air Astana also signed a lease deal with Steven Udvar Hazy’s Air Lease Corp.
BAE Systems has announced a plan to implement a new “regionalized” strategy to support the Latin American market, where some 90 of its aircraft are now in service with nearly 40 operators. The company unveiled the new support strategy at its first ever Americas operators’ conference, held in Lima, Peru, May 23 and 24.
Bombardier’s largest regional airliner–the CRJ1000 NextGen (until the CSeries enters service in 2013)–has made a nearly flawless since entry into service last December. With 13 CRJ1000s flying for Brit Air and Air Nostrum, the fleet has achieved a 99.4-percent dispatch reliability rate and 99.9 schedule completion rate.
ATR has gained EASA certification for its new ATR 72-600 following nearly two years of flight testing, the Franco-Italian manufacturer announced this morning. A more powerful and capable version of the 72-500, the new 68-seat turboprop flew more than 150 hours during 75 test flights. The company plans to deliver the first production airplane to Royal Air Maroc early this summer, likely during a ceremony at next month’s Paris Air Show.
For the first time in the 36-year history of the RAA a sitting DOT Secretary visited the association’s annual convention, as Ray LaHood made the trip to Nashville last month to deliver one of the most upbeat keynote addresses heard by delegates to the spring get-together in several years.
A Xi’an Aircraft MA60 operated by Indonesia’s Merpati Nusantara Airlines crashed on May 7 into Kaimana Bay, some 1,500 feet short of the Utarung Airport runway in Kaimana, West Papua province, killing all 25 occupants. The scheduled flight had originated in Sorong, West Papua, at 12:40 p.m. local time and crashed at about 2 p.m. in heavy rain and high winds.