Calgary-based WestJet Encore signed a firm order for five Bombardier Q400s in late July, raising its order total for the type to 30. The latest deal, valued at $167 million, involved the conversion of five options booked by parent company WestJet with its original order for the type in July 2012. Plans call for the airplanes to help support WestJet’s expansion into the eastern part of Canada, where it currently operates a base out of Toronto.
Air Transport and Cargo
News and issues relating to international air transport and cargo carriers, national airlines and regional airlines, including aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training.
Japan’s Amakusa Airlines expects to become the country’s first ATR 42 operator under the terms of a lease deal it signed in late July with Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC). The letter of intent calls for the Kumamoto Prefecture-based regional airline to take the aircraft, a new ATR 42-600, in the fourth quarter of next year. The announcement followed NAC’s firm order at the Farnborough airshow for 25 ATR 42-600s. NAC also took options on 50 of the turboprops, raising the potential value of the deal to more than $1.55 billion.
Aurigny Air Services plans to start new service between its base in Guernsey in the Channel Islands and London City Airport on September 8, starting with a wet-leased Fokker 50 turboprop. Plans call for two round trips each week with the Fokker for four to eight weeks, at which time Aurigny expects to start flying a newly sourced ATR on the route.
Indianapolis-based Republic Airways plans to consolidate its Chautauqua Airlines operation into its Shuttle America subsidiary in an effort to cut costs through a reduction of its air operator certificates to two from three. Company CEO Bryan Bedford sent a letter to employees in late July announcing the company’s intention to migrate Chautauqua’s 41 fifty-seat Embraer ERJ-145s to Shuttle America by year-end.
Bombardier confirmed on Friday that the modified Pratt & Whitney PW1524G engines for the CSeries flight-test vehicles have successfully completed the testing required for return to flight test and that the second test vehicle (FTV2) will return to the air this month.
Embraer has finished roughly half of its series of critical design reviews (CDRs) for the new E190-E2, and as of early September had released drawings for major parts of the airplane’s all-new wings.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) dismissed an exemption Norwegian Air Shuttle sought for its Ireland subsidiary to operate to the United States, saying it needs more time to consider the airline’s application for a foreign air carrier permit.
Two manufacturers shared the spoils of Japan Airlines’ major commitment announced last week covering a total of 47 regional jets. But the potentially bigger and undoubtedly more desperate winner proved to be Mitsubishi, the upstart regional jet manufacturer whose orderbook now shows memoranda of understanding, tentative agreements and firm orders from six customers.
Unionized pilots with Lufthansa-owned low-fare carrier Germanwings staged a six-hour strike on Friday after negotiations between the airline and pilots over early retirement benefits broke down. The Vereinigung Cockpit union representing pilots with Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings said it would continue planning industrial actions “until the point of agreement.”
Malaysian Airlines (MAS) is to lay off just over 30 percent of its workforce in a restructuring that will see it brought under the full ownership of state-backed sovereign wealth fund Kazanah Nasional Berhad.