Unfazed by a fast-depleting order backlog, Brazilian manufacturer Embraer is betting on a sales surge in North America for its E-Jet airliners. This expectation is partly due to expectations of long-awaited reforms to U.S.“scope-clause” trade union restrictions based on aircraft size that currently prevent regional airlines from operating with crews from their associated mainline carriers.
Republic Airways Holdings
Indianapolis-based Republic Airways has agreed with United Airlines to fly the 28 Bombardier Q400s that bankrupt Pinnacle Airlines plans to return to its lessors, Republic announced Monday.
Qatar Airways and fractional jet ownership provider Flexjet are to form an alliance to offer the Middle East airline’s passengers a seamless charter service throughout North America.
Prague-based aircraft charter and management provider ABS Jets recorded its best-ever revenues in 2011, breaking the CZK1 billion ($51 million) barrier for the first time. While this represents an increase of 2 percent over the previous year, gross profits increased by 23 percent compared to 2010, to CZK44 million ($2.25 million).
Bombardier Aerospace has opened a new engineering service office in Bengaluru, India. Its current staff of approximately 20 is slated to increase to about 50 aerospace engineers by the end of next year.
Embraer’s backlog for commercial airliners fell to its lowest level in more than five years, following a first quarter in which it delivered 21 E-Jets but sold only 12. As of March 31, its firm backlog stood at $14.7 billion, compared with $15.4 billion at the end of last year. The value of its backlog has fallen from a high of $21.6 billion in the third quarter of 2008.
The first flight of Embraer’s new Legacy 500 has been delayed until the third quarter of this year, due to software problems with its fly-by-wire controls. Nonetheless, the 500 and its shorter-haul, smaller sibling, the Legacy 450, are set to shine as the latest entries in the Brazilian manufacturer’s burgeoning book of business jet offerings, which range from the entry-level Phenom 100 to the uber barge Lineage 1000.
US Airways announced last month that it finished installing first-class sections on 110 US Airways Express Embraer E170/175s and Bombardier CRJ700/900s. With the addition of first-class sections on regional partners PSA, Mesa Air Group and Republic Airways, US Airways now offers same-class service to more than 85 destinations. The company began installing the two-by-one seating configurations on its Express aircraft in September and completed all aircraft in mid-December.
Tough cost battles in the market segment where regional airlines and low-cost carriers converge are driving demand for Embraer’s E-Jet series, according to the Brazilian airframer.
After being dented by the financial crisis, Russian business aviation is back in growth mode. This trend was confirmed by Moscow’s Jet Expo show (September 14 to 16), staged for the first time in the Vnukovo-3 business aviation center of the Russian capital’s Vnukovo Airport.