A new code-share contract signed last month by St. George, Utah-based SkyWest to fly from Milwaukee and Kansas City as Midwest Connect stands as the centerpiece of Midwest Airlines’ strategy to fend off a hostile buyout overture from AirTran Airways. The deal, scheduled to take effect in April, calls for SkyWest to fly 25 Bombardier CRJ200s, the first 15 arriving by this November.
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Delta Air Lines last month signed a letter of intent with Bombardier to acquire as many as 60 CRJ900s to deploy with its Delta Connection regional affiliates from Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and New York. A firm order, still subject to bankruptcy court approval, would call for 30 of the airplanes in a two-class, 76-seat configuration, and likely accompany an option for another 30 airplanes.
Although declining from providing revenue figures, Delta AirElite president and CEO Michael Green said the Cincinnati-based charter and management company “is having a record year,” with a 38-percent gain in revenue flight hours over last year. He attributed much of the increase to the company’s introduction of its Fleet Membership jet-card program in February 2003. The company has also increased its charter/management fleet to 19 jets.
Leaders of three general aviation organizations went on the offensive yesterday in response to an Air Transport Association plan that would place a tax (read user fees) on the number of “departures” and “time in system” and give the airlines the most influence among ATC system stakeholders.
The airlines that own Arinc are interested in selling the 77-year-old aviation communications company. Based in Annapolis, Md., Arinc posted revenues of $890 million last year, but its owners, including financially troubled carriers Delta and American, are said to be reluctant to make necessary investments in the company.
Arinc Direct and Starling Advanced Communication have joined forces to offer integrated broadband connectivity to business jet customers. The agreement calls for the integration of Arinc’s SkyLink satellite data service with Starling’s fuselage-mounted satcom antennas. The companies plan to jointly develop and market the system to potential buyers.
The U.S. Navy has selected the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics system for its fleet of 55 T-44A trainers in a major upgrade program anticipated to last four years. Under terms of the deal, Arinc will serve as the purchasing and installation agency for the program and L-3 Communications the prime contractor. The T-44A is the military version of the Beech King Air twin turboprop.
Exostar has come to Paris to promote the new Certipath trusted identity assurance system, a so-called commercial bridge between defense and aeronautics firms and government customers, primarily the Pentagon and the UK Ministry of Defence.
In what many observers predicted, the FAA/Industry Age 60 Aviation Rulemaking Committee was unable to reach consensus on whether to raise the mandatory retirement age of 60 for airline pilots. Bloomberg News reported it obtained a copy of the report, which the FAA is studying but has not yet released.