Regional airlines serve a vital purpose all over the world even where they mix with low-cost carriers. The regionals can serve areas the low-costers cannot reach–or so goes a well known European beer advertisement. Thin routes mean smaller aircraft and services more akin to business aviation flights than those for holiday-makers.
Air Canada announced plans last month to transfer its fifteen 73-seat Embraer E175s to regional affiliate Sky Regional Airlines under the two companies’ existing capacity purchase agreement (CPA). Air Canada plans to start the transition in February and deliver the last airplane to Toronto-based Sky Regional in June.
Bankrupt AMR moved a step closer to its goal of saving $1.25 billion a year in employee-related costs as the pilots of American Eagle voted last Monday to ratify a tentative agreement reached between their Air Line Pilots Association bargaining committee and airline management. Of the regional airline’s some 3,000 pilots, 85 percent cast ballots. Seventy percent of participating pilots voted in favor of the agreement.
The western Indian state of Gujarat has what amounts to its first regional airline with the launch of Deccan Shuttles by G.R. Gopinath, who founded India’s first low-cost airline, Air Deccan, before selling it to Kingfisher Airlines. Scheduled operations started on August 27 using a pair of nine-seat Cessna 208B Grand Caravans. The turboprop singles ply the Ahmedabad-Surat-Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad-Kandla routes, marking the first-ever direct air service between provincial cities in this large state.
Pinnacle Airlines has resumed talks with its employee groups over contract concessions, following a recalculation of the cost savings it says it needs to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to Pinnacle, it now needs to shed $76 million to return to viability due in large part to Delta Air Lines’ plans to shed more than 200 fifty-seat regional jets from the Delta Connection system. It originally asked for $43 million in concessions.
Europe’s regional airlines face many challenges–not least of which centers on trying to change the way politicians in Brussels view aviation. The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) expends much effort on behalf of its 65 members trying to convince Eurocrats that regional airlines provide vital economic links that need nurturing in an era of consistently high fuel prices and an economic downturn severe enough to threaten the very existence of the European Union.
Cincinnati-based Comair will close its doors at the end September, and nearly 2,000 people will lose their jobs as a result. Granted, the reasons for the airline’s demise might not matter much to them, but perhaps an examination of the forces that led to Delta’s decision to shutter its subsidiary will prepare others for a similar fate.
St. George, Utah-based SkyWest expects to ground 66 fifty-seat Bombardier CRJs and add 34 more dual-class Bombardier jets ranging in seating capacity from 65 to 76 seats under a memorandum of understanding signed with code-share partner Delta Air Lines, the world’s largest regional airline announced today.
Bankrupt Pinnacle Airlines suspended negotiations over pay concessions with its unions while it “reformulates” its business plan in an effort to issue a more competitive contract offer to mainline partner Delta Air Lines, according to a June 22 letter sent by CEO John Spanjers to all employees.
Made public in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the letter said that Delta told Pinnacle management that its competitors had submitted bids for Bombardier CRJ900 flying that undercut Pinnacle’s current rates by a “significant” margin.