In the wake of a first quarter that saw his airline’s operating margins cut by more than half from a year earlier, ExpressJet CEO Jim Ream didn’t see much point last month in revealing traffic figures for the company’s new branded operation. But in case anyone held out hope that things went better than expected, Ream didn’t just let the omission speak for itself. “The markets are thin,” he said.
The Regional Airline Association opens the next chapter in its 32-year history this year as new association president Roger Cohen presides over his first RAA convention in Memphis. But in the five months since the group bid farewell to Debby McElroy, Cohen hasn’t enjoyed much time to acclimate to his new environs, having dived head-first into one of the most contentious debates over FAA funding the industry has ever had to face.
The runway at Midway Island remains open for emergency landings, thanks to $3.2 million from the DOT. The money will be used to upgrade navigational aids and maintain the runway until at least September 30, the end of the current fiscal year. The airfield was on the verge of closing January 6 when a Continental Airlines 777 with nearly 300 people aboard made an emergency landing at the former U.S.
The winter storm that stranded thousands of travelers throughout the Northeast in the middle of February didn’t put a damper on this year’s annual Women in Aviation International (WAI) conference. In fact, a record 3,200 people attended the event, held February 15 to 17 at the Walt Disney World Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla. Conference organizers say they received just 127 cancellations.
Manassas, Va.-based Colgan Air will fly fifteen 74-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprops under a 10-year capacity purchase agreement that Colgan’s new owner, Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines, signed with Continental Airlines last month. The deal will see Colgan fly the new airplanes, scheduled for delivery from this December through June of next year, from Continental’s Newark, N.J. hub starting next January.
Pinnacle Airlines bought Manassas, Va.-based Colgan Air for $20 million last month. The deal gives Memphis-based Pinnacle, which has flown exclusively for Northwest Airlines during its entire existence, immediate access to code-share revenue from Colgan partners Continental Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.
Aviation Partners Boeing, the U.S. joint venture between “Blended Winglet” designer Aviation Partners and Boeing, last month received supplemental type certification for its winglet modification for the Boeing 757-200 airliner. The companies expect to start installing the eight-foot-two-inch tall Blended Winglets on Continental Airlines and Icelandair airplanes in July.
The airline industry has finally realized that business aviation is a best kept secret and has recently been maneuvering to offer its passengers a piece of the action. A number of leading European flagcarriers–Lufthansa, KLM and Swiss International Air Lines–now provide scheduled services with long-range Airbus A319 LRs and Boeing Business Jets (BBJs), all flown on their behalf by Swiss executive aviation provider PrivatAir.
Houston-based regional airline ExpressJet announced here at NBAA’06 that it planned to open a new division to fly corporate charter services using 10 Embraer ERJ 145XRs scheduled for removal from its Continental Express feeder network. Plans call for the new unit, called ExpressJet Corporate Aviation, to start operations in December and absorb all 10 ERJ 145s by next May.
Apparently done pouring 50-seat jet capacity into a system overflowing with Embraer 145s, Continental Airlines continues to explore the possibility of adding more turboprops to its network, according to Continental managing director of scheduling and planning Karen Zachary.