Few doubt that the new rules governing pilot duty time and first officer qualifications will challenge human resource departments at regional airlines throughout the U.S. But to a nation that depends on regional airlines for some 50 percent of its flights, the extent to which the new regulations will affect the supply of pilots and service to small communities remains largely underappreciated, much to the frustration of the Regional Airline Association and its members.
After asking for a show of hands from air charter operators who are experiencing difficulties filling pilot vacancies, FAA deputy director of flight standards John Duncan told attendees at this week’s NATA Air Charter Summit that he gets involved in discussions about pilot shortages in a lot of different venues. “From an academic standpoint, it’s going to be interesting,” he said. “But from a community standpoint, it’s probably going to be a little painful. This is an interesting dilemma for the aviation community.”
The scope clause language in the tentative settlement reached between the Air Line Pilots Association and Delta Air Lines in May at first looked like a positive development for all involved.
A looming pilot shortage, stubbornly high fuel prices, industry consolidation and new regulations that will require, among other items, first officers to carry an Air Transport Pilots certificate by August 2013 all made their mark on the 37th annual Regional Airline Association convention, held May 21 to 24 in Minneapolis.
Europe’s regional airlines continue to struggle against European Commission (EC) bureaucrats who do not appreciate their value or the problems poor legislation and punitive taxation cause, or that they enable European economic prosperity. This was the central message from the “Regions at Risk” conference held by the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) in Porto, Portugal on April 18 and 19.
Notwithstanding consistent losses through which the regional airline industry’s publicly traded carriers have suffered lately, the last three years have proved a period of considerable progress on several fronts. Perhaps most notably, the industry has not registered a fatal accident since the Feb. 12, 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407, in which 50 people died primarily due to pilot error.
Jonathan Ornstein began his career in 1987, working at Los Angeles-based Air LA, a small commuter carrier where he did everything from finance to aircraft cleaning. He moved over to Mesa Air in 1989, where he served as assistant to founder, president and CEO Larry Risley. He worked his way up to executive vice president, and then became president and CEO of Continental Express and senior vice president of airport operations for Continental. He then moved to Brussels, Belgium, to work with Sir Richard Branson to create Virgin Express.
By the time American Eagle president Dan Garton spoke with AIN in late March, he had just presented his labor groups with a restructuring plan that called for a 5-percent reduction in the number of employees to achieve the cost savings the company would need to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Delegates attending the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) spring conference in Porto, Portugal, last week heard about the risks associated with policies that focus on core areas with little or no regard to protecting the provision of air services to the regions where 85 percent of Europe’s population resides.
Current Pinnacle Airlines COO John Spanjers will replace Sean Menke as chief executive of the Memphis, Tennessee-based regional airline group on June 1, Pinnacle said in a statement issued Thursday. Menke, who, according to Pinnacle, has chosen to resign from the company, has agreed to help with the leadership transition over the next five weeks.