Mesa Air Group has taken responsibility for part of the lease payments on some 30 idle Fairchild Dornier 328Jets as a condition of its new code-share contract with Delta Air Lines. Scheduled to start Delta Connection service with five Embraer ERJ 145s next month, Mesa doesn’t plan to fly the German-built regional jets but sublease them to other airlines.
Colgan Air will take Shuttle America’s place at Washington Dulles Airport as the Saab 340 turboprop provider for United Airlines (UAL) under an agreement-in-principle reached between Colgan and UAL last month. Already flying 10 Saab 340Bs for Continental Airlines from Houston, Colgan will add six more of the 34-seat propjets for United starting October 4.
Strong wind gusts from August 5 thunderstorms collapsed part of the roof of a new maintenance hangar under construction for Chautauqua Airlines at Louisville International Airport. None of the construction workers on the scene at the time sustained injuries. The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 53 miles per hour at the airport at the time of the collapse.
The FAA certainly tested its patience, but Republic Airways appeared likely to win an operating certificate for its new Republic Airlines division in time to launch Embraer 170 service for US Airways and Delta Air Lines early this month.
Slower-than-anticipated growth of regional air transport markets in Asia has apparently reached the consciousness of market prognosticators at Embraer, whose latest 20-year forecast for deliveries of small commercial jets reflects a less optimistic outlook for both China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.
In a move advertised as another triumph for Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell’s economic stimulus plan, Republic Airlines has agreed to establish a new overnight maintenance facility and crew base at Pittsburgh International Airport that will employ between 60 and 70 mechanics and 60 to 70 pilots and flight attendants.
US Airways plans to transfer the last of the assets of MidAtlantic Airways to Republic Airways on May 28, marking an inauspicious end to what once formed the basis of US Air’s strategy to emerge from bankruptcy. Another 368 employees, most of whom remain in Philadelphia, will lose their jobs, although many will get a chance to work for Republic, which has agreed to place a heavy maintenance facility in Pittsburgh.
Continental Airlines last month accepted a bid from Indianapolis-based Chautauqua Airlines to fly at least 69 regional jets slated for withdrawal from its capacity purchase agreement with long-time Continental Express partner ExpressJet. Continental plans to start the transition in January and finish by the end of next summer.
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.
Larger aircraft and lower costs have produced a winning formula for Swiss International Airlines’ regional operations–despite high fuel prices not entirely offset by surtaxes on tickets. Swiss announced an overall profit of SFr76 million ($61 million) for the first half of the year and stresses that regional, European and intercontinental flights have all contributed to the positive result.