Even though regional airline traffic is up 13 percent from the second quarter of last year, and regional airliners account for 34 percent of the overall domestic fleet, the industry cannot continue to pay for security expenses.
Chautauqua Airlines on November 1 became the fifth regional airline to fly as Delta Connection, when a new 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 took off from Columbus, Ohio, on its first scheduled flight to Orlando, Fla. On the same day Chautauqua began service between Columbus and Tampa, one of three daily round trips between the Delta system’s new city pair.
Embraer had to scrap plans to bring one of its new 70-seat regional jets to display at the ERA assembly in a bid to catch up on slight technical delays in its certification program. This process is now expected to be complete about three months later than planned, with launch customer Swiss due to receive its first Embraer 170 next August.
Orlando, Fla.-based low-fare carrier AirTran Airways took a page from the book of North America’s full-service airlines last month when it enlisted Air Wisconsin to replace some of its Boeing 717 capacity from Atlanta with 50-seat Bombardier CRJs.
CAE last month inaugurated its aviation training center near Denver International Airport. The new facility, which specializes in the training of regional airline crews, is starting with three simulators: an Airbus A320 and two Bombardier CRJ200/700 devices. Frontier Airlines and Air Wisconsin are the launch customers. A third Bombardier CRJ200/700 simulator will be added next year.
Tulsa, Okla.-based Great Plains Airlines became the second regional airline to seek federal loan guarantees under the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act. The struggling Fairchild Dornier 328JET operator joined Aloha Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Peachtree City, Ga.-based charter company World Airways in applying for the guarantees just ahead of the government’s July 1 deadline.
The decision by US Airways and United Airlines to test the scope-clause language in their pilot contracts after September 11 appeared fully vindicated last month, as both airlines’ Air Line Pilots Association chapters agreed to withdraw their force majeure grievances during negotiations aimed at resuscitating the ailing major carriers.
Frontier Airlines yesterday said it reached a “mutual agreement” with Republic Airways to end their code-share agreement and gradually remove all 12 of the Indianapolis-based regional airline’s Embraer E170s from the Frontier network by mid-June.
Milwaukee-based Midwest Express regional subsidiary Skyway Airlines will adopt the name Midwest Connect on January 1 as part of a company-wide identity campaign that will also see the parent airline change its name to Midwest Airlines. Midwest Express CEO Tim Hoeksema said the decision to remove the “Express” designation from the mainline came about because customers associate the name with a commuter operation.
Indianapolis-based Chautauqua Airlines added its fourth code-share contract last month when it inked a 10-year deal with Delta Air Lines to fly at least 22 Embraer regional jets from Orlando, Fla., as Delta Connection.