Three months after launching scheduled domestic service in the UAE with flights to Sir Bani Yas and Delma Islands from Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport, Rotana Jet extended its offering on September 19 to double-daily Embraer ERJ-145 service from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Fujairah. Exactly a week later, the upstart regional airline started twice-daily flights from Abu Dhabi International to Al Ain.
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).
Pinnacle Airlines subsidiary Colgan Air performed its last revenue flight on September 5. Flight 3923, a Bombardier Q400 operating as United Express, flew from Washington Dulles International Airport to Albany International, arriving at 8:11 a.m. local time.
Pinnacle entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection April 1 and on that same day announced its plan to “wind down” all its turboprop flying and close Colgan by November 30. United’s ability to reach a deal quickly with Republic Airways to fly the 28 Q400s leased by Colgan allowed Pinnacle to accelerate the closure process.
Warsaw-based Eurolot has converted options on six Bombardier Q400 turboprops to a firm order worth $190 million based on list prices, the Canadian manufacturer announced last month. Once delivered, the new airplanes will increase the size of Eurolot’s Q400 fleet to 14 while replacing aging ATR 42s and 72s. Eurolot placed a firm order for eight Q400s with options on another 12 in early March and took delivery of the first in mid-May.
Hawaii’s Island Air signed a letter of intent with Chicago’s Aerway Leasing last month to lease five ATR 42s, the first two of which the airline expects to arrive in Honolulu by the end of this year and the final three next summer.
Armavia’s first Superjet SSJ100 sat idle at Sukhoi Civil Aircraft’s maintenance and training center at the Ramenskoye Aerodrome in Zhukovsky near Moscow last month, as the manufacturer and the Armenian flag carrier remained locked in a financial dispute. A second SSJ100 originally scheduled for delivery to Armavia in June also remained in Zhukovsky, leaving Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) in the unwelcome position of storage facilitator while it urged the airline to settle arrangements to resume operation of at least the original airplane.
Two years after entering bankruptcy protection, restructured Irish regional operator Aer Arann has embarked on a fleet-replacement program. Last month it neared a resolution to negotiations to acquire eight ATR 72-600s, reflecting expectations for rejuvenation of a business that has fought valiantly to escape the ravages of the Irish economic collapse.
Europe’s regional airlines face many challenges–not least of which centers on trying to change the way politicians in Brussels view aviation. The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) expends much effort on behalf of its 65 members trying to convince Eurocrats that regional airlines provide vital economic links that need nurturing in an era of consistently high fuel prices and an economic downturn severe enough to threaten the very existence of the European Union.
At the end of 2012 Mike Ambrose, 67, will retire as director general of ERA after serving more than 25 years in the post. The ERA board has approved the elevation of Simon McNamara, 40, to the role from his current position as deputy director general.
As Hawaii’s Island Air enters a whole new phase of life this summer with the roll-out of a complete image and brand overhaul, half a world away Franco-Italian airframe maker ATR can add another regional carrier to its growing list of turboprop operators. By around the start of next month the long-time de Havilland Dash 8 operator officially begins the process of trading equipment allegiances with delivery of its first ex-American Eagle ATR 72-212, now undergoing a C-Check at Premier Aviation in Trois Rivieres, Quebec.