With its diverse geography and increasingly prosperous and mobile populations, Southeast Asia has become a target of opportunity the world’s regional aircraft OEMs can no longer afford to overlook. One of the earliest to tap the region’s potential, Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR, has for the past 15 years developed a visibility in the region unmatched by its competitors. While others concentrated on the U.S. and Europe, ATR, perhaps out of necessity, took to exploiting less obvious opportunities in developing markets within Vietnam and Thailand, for example.
European Regions Airline Association
The bankruptcy of Danish airline Cimber Sterling in May 2012 has threatened to shake the foundation of the country’s engine leasing business after a Danish bankruptcy court ruled that some of the engines fitted to Cimber Sterling aircraft belonged to the airframes and the engine lessors bore no right to them, according to lawyers representing the leasing entities.
Bombardier announced last month that Luxair, the national airline of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, has placed a firm order for a Q400 turboprop and has taken an option on another. Luxair expects to take delivery of the 76-seat airplane next April.
Based on the Q400’s list price, Bombardier values the firm order at $32.2 million. If Luxair exercises its option, the value would rise to $65.78 million, said Bombardier.
When representatives from Europe’s regional airlines met in Salzburg last month at the annual general assembly of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), they did so against a backdrop of red tape, high fuel prices, inefficient ATC and the ever growing threat from low-cost carriers and airports biased toward large aircraft. Nevertheless, the ERA was able to report that its members had managed capacity well to remain profitable, reacting to demand and becoming more efficient as signs of a return to growth become more evident.
The General Assembly of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) took place in Salzburg last week with a mixed picture of how airlines are managing, particularly with continued pressure from low-cost-carrier growth and regulatory burdens. In the ERA’s view, Europe has a major problem with central politicians who seem unable to understand the value of regional aviation that local politicians in its many outer regions have little problem appreciating.
Increasing competition and pressure on costs has led to some deep restructuring of European airlines, with an attendant move to higher-capacity aircraft and absorption of many regional carriers into national carriers.
The pilots of Irish regional carrier Aer Arann voted last month by a 91-percent margin to initiate a pair of two-day strikes starting August 20. Plans called for the strikes to affect Aer Arann-coded flights and regional flights it operates on behalf of Aer Lingus.
The UK’s BMI Regional signed a deal last month to supply an Embraer ERJ145–along with pilots, cabin crew and support–to Swedish regional airline Flyglinjen. Flyglinjen plans to replace a Fokker 50 turboprop on a route between Kristianstad, Sweden and Stockholm Arlanda Airport. The contract’s term extends 10 months, starting from August 12, using the Flyglinjen brand. Plans call for the airplane to operate under BMI Regional’s certificate using BMI Regional flight and maintenance crews, while Flyglinjen provides sales and ground services.
Five Bombardier Dash 8-100 regional turboprops at Norway’s Widerøe’s Flyveselskap had undergone 80,000-flight cycle (FC) inspections by last month as part of an extended-service program (ESP) approved by Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2009. Of the 299 Dash 8-100s built, some 100 constitute the near-term market for the life-extension modifications, according to the manufacturer. Bombardier expects a further 128 will reach the 80,000-cycle threshold during the coming nine years.
A new firm order for seven E190 airliners from Venezuela’s Conviasa led Embraer’s commercial activity here yesterday. The deal involved a conversion of options from an order placed in July 2012 and raised Conviasa’s firm order count to 13 E190s. It still holds options for another seven.
Embraer also identified Japan Airlines as the customer for an order for four more E170s. With that deal, JAL has now placed firm orders for 15 E170s.
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