A newly formed regional airline division of Hong Kong commuter helicopter operator Helicopters Hong Kong has signed a deal with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) to lease four new 76-seat Embraer 170s. The first delivery–scheduled for the second half of the year–will mark the climax of nearly two years of preparation for the start-up airline called Hong Kong Express Airways (HKE), as well as the 170’s introduction to Asia.
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News and issues relating to air transport and cargo aircraft.
US Airways may resume taking deliveries of Embraer and Bombardier regional jets if the airline’s employee unions accept more cost-cutting measures, thanks to a tentative agreement by GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) to lease another thirty-one 70- and 90-seat jets over the next three years. Last fall US Airways had to stop deliveries of Embraer 170s at 22 after it fell into bankruptcy for the second time.
China’s AVIC I Commercial Aircraft (ACAC) continues its march toward a 2008 introduction of the 85-seat ARJ21-700, finishing more or less on schedule some 90 percent of the aircraft’s structural design and 50 percent of its systems design by the end of last year.
Although the political crisis in Ukraine kept Antonov engineers guessing about the timing of the first flight of the 52-seat An-148, the airplane took to the air on December 17 from Kiev’s Svyatoshin Aerodrome.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has delivered the final Avro RJ to Finnish carrier Blue 1, bringing to an end 22 years of BAe 146/Avro RJ production. An Avro RJ85 that arrived in Helsinki on November 26 was the last of four aircraft ordered by Blue 1. In total, BAE has delivered 390 of the quad-jets. The UK manufacturer will continue to handle customer and product support directly.
The largest member of Embraer’s 170/190 family of single-aisle commercial jets–the 108-seat Embraer 195–took to the air for the first time on December 7 from the company’s production center in São Jose dos Campos, Brazil. The first prototype–a two-seat-row stretch of the 100-seat Embraer 190–validated systems operation and flight characteristics during its one-hour-and-56-minute mission.
Bombardier announced plans to cut this year’s CRJ200 production by another 20 percent just days after Standard & Poor’s lowered the company’s credit rating to junk status and issued a “negative” outlook for Bombardier’s regional jet prospects.
Republic Airlines will fly 17 seventy-six-seat Embraer E170s as Frontier Jet Express under a new code-share contract meant to replace and expand service now performed by Seattle-based Horizon Air with Bombardier CRJ700s. The 11-year contract calls for the first aircraft to enter service next month and the last in December 2008. Horizon’s contract with Frontier expires in December.
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.
Bankrupt regional aircraft manufacturer Avcraft Aerospace has been bought by UK Corporate Jet Services, parent company of Southampton-based executive charter operator Club328. The new owner will not be resuming aircraft production, but will instead run Avcraft as a support organization for existing Dornier 328 jet and turboprop operators under the name 328 Support Services.