A tentative labor accord reached last month between Northwest Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association includes scope-clause language that would allow the airline to establish a new regional subsidiary, but only to fly airplanes certified to carry between 51 and 76 seats.
Delta Air Lines’ planned expansion at New York JFK Airport this summer will include a new three-year code-share deal with Mesa Air Group to fly twelve 37-seat de Havilland Dash 8-200 turboprops from the Big Apple.
While at first it seemed hard to reconcile the rather dark and anxious mood of last year’s RAA Convention in Cincinnati with double-digit profit margins and record revenues, by the end of the three-day event it became clear to everyone what regional airline executives had seen coming for years.
Delta Air Lines looked to become the latest U.S. carrier to stretch its scope-clause limits when Air Line Pilots Association leadership agreed to allow regional jets certified to carry between 71 and 76 seats to fly under the Delta Connection brand starting next year.
A 63-percent affirmative vote last month by the pilots of Northwest Airlines for a new labor deal officially frees Northwest (operating as Compass Airlines) to fly regional jets certified to hold up to 76 seats. Northwest plans to launch the operation next month with a single 50-seat CRJ200 flying twice daily between Minneapolis and Washington Dulles International Airport.
Pinnacle Airlines CEO Phil Trenary told a gathering of journalists at the RAA convention in Dallas in late May that he fully expects his airline to, in his words, “take a beating” once bankrupt major partner Northwest Airlines decides to seek revenue-sharing concessions. “Our time is very near,” said Trenary. “Will we take a beating? Yes. How much of one? We don’t know.”