With many of Europe’s regional airlines feeling unloved and forgotten by the central powers, ERA director general Simon McNamara has spent much of his first year visiting as many airline members as possible to understand how they tick, and what challenges they face. “We’ve put a lot more focus on the membership,” he told AIN. “And we are trying harder to let our members know what we’re doing and why.”
China’s great need for airline pilots is well documented, not least by Boeing, which last year estimated that the country’s fast-expanding air transport industry will need some 77,400 pilots through 2032 (plus 93,900 mechanics). According to the airframer, that represents around 40 percent of the overall requirement across the Asia Pacific region over the same period.
A contract from a Hong Kong-based owner of a Bombardier Challenger 850 has given Flying Colours Corp. the opportunity to develop its first cabin interior entirely made from carbon fiber. The aircraft was delivered after 16 weeks of work just before this year’s ABACE show, where the Canada-based maintenance, completions and refurbishment specialist is exhibiting (Booth H606).
While the Regional Airline Association and regional airline management point to new rules governing flight time experience for first officers as the primary reason for a pilot shortage that has resulted in a loss of service to several U.S. communities, pilots contend the airlines have made their own mess by creating a business model predicated on breadline wages for cockpit crew. The Air Line Pilots Association, for one, argues that there’s no shortage of pilots, only a shortage of pilots willing to fly for substandard wages and inadequate benefits.
Five-month-old Indian regional airline Air Costa plans to start international operations once India lifts its rule that limits new carriers to domestic services during their first five years of operation. Ahead of that revision, the carrier, which ordered a mix of 50 Embraer E190-E2s and E195-E2s at the Singapore Air Show in February, has applied for a national permit to fly pan-India, Vivek Choudhary, chief commercial officer and vice president of corporate finance of parent company LEPL Projects, told AIN.
India’s next government needs to press ahead with the development of domestic air routes, according to a new report published by consultants KPMG last week. India’s Five-Year Plan for the period 2012 to 2017 included a policy to improve flight connections between second- and third-tier cities, but progress all but stalled due to the political inertia that has gripped government ahead of elections to be held in April and May. At the same time, the recent downgrading of the country’s aviation authorities to Category 2 by the U.S. FAA has compromised India’s ability to develop further international air service.
As Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Silver Airways became the third U.S. regional airline this month to announce significant service cuts due to what it called a nationwide pilot shortage, the Regional Airline Association amplified its message of opposition to a new rule requiring 1,500 hours of flying experience for new-hire first officers.
The European Commission on Thursday adopted new guidelines for limiting state aid to regional airports and airlines, a move the EC claims will reduce competitive distortion by discouraging overcapacity at small, unprofitable facilities.
Regional airliner rivals ATR and Bombardier may still be no closer to announcing their long-anticipated new 90-seat twin turboprops, but Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is determined to be ready with the necessary powerplant for program launches that it views as inevitable. Next month, the engine maker will resume testing of the compressor unit for its proposed New Generation Regional Turboprop engine and it expects to have all testing complete by mid-year.
For Brazil’s Embraer, a lot has changed in the 13 years since it first laid brick and mortar in Asia. The world’s major airframe makers now consider the Asia Pacific region the biggest market for airliners in the world, and Embraer’s establishment first of an office in Beijing and later a joint-venture to build ERJ 145 regional jets in Harbin has proved prescient.