Some charter companies are reporting new interest and bookings as a result of last month’s terrorist attacks. Demand is reportedly up in response to more time-consuming airline check-in security requirements, as well as the perception that charter will provide better security. One wire story said a charter service in Southern California reported a 110-percent increase in customer calls.
Political and commercial agendas, both individual and collective, rarely allow for a wholly accurate assessment of the regional airline industry’s condition. With an array
of conflicting and ambiguous signals from within executive circles, trying to gauge industry prospects at this year’s Regional Airline Association convention in St. Louis would prove as frustrating as ever.
Brazil's aircraft investigation board, Cenipa, won't release its report on the Embraer Legacy 600/Gol Airlines Boeing 737-800 midair until early next month, but many of the report's details have already been leaked to São Paulo-based daily newspaper Folha de São Paulo. All 154 aboard the Gol airliner were killed when the two aircraft collided at FL370 over Brazil's Amazon jungle, but the damaged Legacy landed safely.
As more signs of air transport recovery rise out of a global economy still hampered by geopolitical unrest, regional airlines continue to parlay their cost and flexibility advantages into steady gains in traffic and profits, even while their mainline counterparts struggle to reverse the near disastrous effects of 9/11, the invasion of Iraq and the outbreak of SARS in the Far East.
While regional airlines in the U.S. enjoy something of a renaissance as a result of post-9/11 capacity restructuring, Europe’s regionals continue to register unspectacular traffic growth and progressively deteriorating yield performances. The reasons vary, but delegates at last month’s ERA spring conference in Barcelona more often than not pinned the blame on the rise of the discount fare segment.
Following approval several months ago of RVSM equipment in the JetStar II, Duncan Aviation reported that it has received group approval for RVSM operations for the four-engine business jet. Last February, the Lincoln, Neb.-based company completed the installation and certification of dual IS&S altimeter/air data units in a JetStar 731, the first step in adding these aircraft to group RVSM approval.
Avolar, a stand-alone subsidiary of UAL Corp. created in March to launch a new business aviation venture, has already acquired three business jets as part of the fractional- ownership core fleet and expects to begin flying this month.
Air Canada has converted to firm status a former tentative commitment for 15 new Bombardier CRJ700 Series 705s and 15 CRJ200s. The airline plans to start taking deliveries of CRJ200s this year, followed by the CRJ705s next year, the exact dates depending on the timing of its emergence from bankruptcy. The airline also holds a conditional order for 15 CRJ200s and options on another 45 airplanes.
Flush with a $200 million cash infusion from Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya and a $170 million order book, turboprop and VLJ maker Epic Aircraft announced that it is in initial talks with Airbus on a technology- and knowledge-sharing agreement. However, Epic CEO Rick Schrameck backed away from a statement he made on Tuesday that the value of the Airbus alliance would equal or exceed Mallya’s investment in the company.
The long-running dispute between JetStar operators and Lockheed Martin continues, as the two dozen or so owners of the remaining 36 U.S.-registered Lockheed L-329 JetStars say they are just about out of patience with the defense contractor. Lockheed Martin inherited JetStar support under the same agreement through which it supports the L-1011 TriStar airliner. It has not produced either aircraft in decades.