The October 1 merger of United and Continental Airlines has exhumed an old bone of contention between mainline pilots and their management that stands to profoundly affect regional airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association-represented brethren employed by them.
Not everyone agrees with the regional airlines’ assertion that they fly just as safely as their mainline counterparts. With this perception and several specific accidents in mind, the NTSB convened a symposium in late October to shed more light on airline code-sharing arrangements and their role in aviation safety.
With the comment period on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on flight-, duty- and rest-time requirements for Part 121 flight crews closing on November 15, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) expressed concern that the FAA plans eventually to expand the regulations to encompass Part 135 on-demand operations.
St. George, Utah-based SkyWest announced today that it has completed its acquisition of Houston-based ExpressJet Holdings. Under the terms of the $133 million transaction, ExpressJet Airlines becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), itself a unit of SkyWest.
Vietnam’s Air Mekong, 30 percent owned by U.S. regional airline SkyWest, on October 9 launched domestic services with four 86-seat Bombardier CRJ900s subleased from the St. George, Utah-based regional.
From a distance, the reason regional airlines would oppose a new law passed by Congress that sets a 1,500 flight-hour minimum for Part 121 first officers might seem obvious: The pool of pilots from which airlines can choose prospective employees will inevitably shrink. The rules of supply and demand dictate that the cost of hiring first officers will therefore rise.
Although deliveries of smaller regional jets have dropped dramatically in the past few years, Forecast International expects growing numbers of jets to be delivered from 2010 through 2019. In its recent study, “The Market for Regional Transport Aircraft,” Newtown, Conn.-based Forecast International projects production of 4,016 regional turboprops and jets valued at $123 billion during the coming decade.
Mitsubishi has tried not to let lackluster sales tarnish an efficiently run development campaign for the MRJ regional jet, the first metal for which workers cut during a ceremony in Nagoya, Japan, last week. As promised, the program passed its detailed design reviews by the end of the summer.
Delta Air Lines has directed regional subsidiary Comair to shed more than half of its Bombardier CRJs over the next two years, according to a September 1 memo to employees from Comair president John Bendoraitis. The Cincinnati-based regional airline plans to cut 49 fifty-seat CRJs from next year through 2012, leaving it with 16 fifty-seat CRJ200s, 15 seventy-seat CRJ700s and 13 seventy-six-seat CRJ900s.
Following the recent worldwide financial crisis and recession, regional airline services in Europe are set to change as operators move to introduce bigger equipment. Air Nostrum chief executive Carlos Bertomeu, for one, predicts that his carrier’s recent strategy to increase average capacity–and thereby reduce unit costs–will be copied elsewhere in the industry.