The pilots of U.S. regional airline American Eagle and the management of American Airlines merger partner US Airways have apparently reached an impasse in negotiations over a new contract, potentially delaying further an expected new regional jet order by the “new” American.
The success enjoyed by outside players in providing capacity to Africa has meant regional and domestic business has assumed ever-increasing importance not just for Africa’s indigenous airlines but for the continent’s economic growth as well. The tremendous distances between population centers and the lack of convenient and reliable roads also make Africa a bumper opportunity for suppliers of regional jets with seating capacities of around 100.
Cincinnati-based Comair will close its doors at the end September, and nearly 2,000 people will lose their jobs as a result. Granted, the reasons for the airline’s demise might not matter much to them, but perhaps an examination of the forces that led to Delta’s decision to shutter its subsidiary will prepare others for a similar fate.
Bankrupt Pinnacle Airlines suspended negotiations over pay concessions with its unions while it “reformulates” its business plan in an effort to issue a more competitive contract offer to mainline partner Delta Air Lines, according to a June 22 letter sent by CEO John Spanjers to all employees.
Made public in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the letter said that Delta told Pinnacle management that its competitors had submitted bids for Bombardier CRJ900 flying that undercut Pinnacle’s current rates by a “significant” margin.
The first airline in the Western Hemisphere to fly the current generation of 50-seat regional jets will cease all operations by the end of September. Delta Air Lines subsidiary Comair, a Bombardier CRJ operator since 1993, will fly its last passenger on September 29, marking the end of a 35-year run as one of the most recognizable names in the U.S. regional airline business.
Last week’s vote by Delta Air Lines pilots to accept a contract proposal forged between their Air Line Pilots Association unit and airline management could carry implications for a vital subset of the industry.
Scope clause revisions at Delta Air Lines and elsewhere in the U.S. could spell relief for regional jet manufacturers such as Bombardier and Embraer, both of whose commercial aircraft businesses have suffered through a long period of sluggish sales in North America and now face the likely prospect of an extended slump in recession-plagued Europe.
The scope clause language in the tentative settlement reached between the Air Line Pilots Association and Delta Air Lines in May at first looked like a positive development for all involved.
Notwithstanding consistent losses through which the regional airline industry’s publicly traded carriers have suffered lately, the last three years have proved a period of considerable progress on several fronts. Perhaps most notably, the industry has not registered a fatal accident since the Feb. 12, 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407, in which 50 people died primarily due to pilot error.
By the time American Eagle president Dan Garton spoke with AIN in late March, he had just presented his labor groups with a restructuring plan that called for a 5-percent reduction in the number of employees to achieve the cost savings the company would need to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
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