The experiment in discount-fare, 50-seat RJ flying known as Independence Air (formerly Atlantic Coast Airlines) ended once and for all when the company transported its last passenger on January 5, a year and a half after it severed ties with former mainline partner United Airlines.
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.
Chalk’s Ocean Airways remained grounded at press time as maintenance crews peeled apart the wing skins and inspected the wing structures of its four remaining turboprop Mallard seaplanes in search of cracking or corrosion as ordered by an emergency AD.
The pilots of Northwest Airlines have threatened to strike if management proceeds with plans to launch a new regional airline as proposed in a newsletter distributed to the company’s 34,000 employees last month. Tentatively named NewCo, the new unit would replace Northwest’s DC-9s with one hundred five 77- to 100-seat jets flying as a Northwest Airlink affiliate.
The province of Western Australia has granted two airlines monopoly rights over air service to some 10 small communities surrounding Perth. The $45 million contract awards Skywest Airlines coastal routes as far north as Exmouth and southeast to Esperane, and gives Skippers Aviation the rights to inland destinations, namely the gold-mining towns of Meekatharra, Wiluna, Leinster, Laverton, Leonora and Mount Magnet.
Investigators last month had yet to determine the cause of a December 26 fire that destroyed Frontier Flying Service’s hangar at Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport in Barrow, Alaska. The blaze didn’t damage any airplanes and no one was injured, but the airline lost its two-story building and various ground-support equipment. At press time, insurance adjusters hadn’t finished calculating the dollar value of the damage.
India’s Paramount Airways plans to sign a contract for eight Embraer 175s and seven Embraer 195s worth some $450 million. Scheduled for delivery over the next 20 months, the airplanes will arrive in a two-class configuration with fully reclining flat beds in first class.
Houston-based ExpressJet Holdings has taken a $700,000, 49-percent share in JetX Aviation, a new regional start-up that plans to operate as ExpressJet Europe and possibly use some of the Embraer ERJ 135/145s scheduled for release by Continental Airlines starting next January. Continental has said it will not require 69 of the 274 regional jets now flown by ExpressJet.
The pilots of St. Louis-based Trans States Holdings subsidiary GoJet Airlines have elected the Teamsters union as their collective bargaining representative. The Teamsters filed for representation with the National Mediation Board on September 15, the day GoJet flew its first revenue flight, and after six months of lobbying received near unanimous approval from the approximately 100 pilots.
Ukraine’s Aviant and Russia’s Voronezh Aircraft JSC (VASO) plan to assemble 24 Antonov An-148 regional jets over the next two-and-a-half years, Aviant director general Oleh Shevchenko told the Russian media last month. Production schedules call for delivery of three airplanes this year, seven next year and 14 in 2008.
Slower-than-anticipated growth of regional air transport markets in Asia has apparently reached the consciousness of market prognosticators at Embraer, whose latest 20-year forecast for deliveries of small commercial jets reflects a less optimistic outlook for both China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.