CommutAir shedding aircraft, employees

 - May 19, 2008, 9:32 AM

Plattsburgh, N.Y.-based CommutAir has notified its employees that it will return 12 of its remaining 26 leased Beech 1900D turboprops to Raytheon Aircraft and furlough more than 150 personnel as part of a plan to reduce operations by some 45 percent. Since CommutAir entered a new code-share deal with Continental Airlines last December, the company has burned $12 million in capital, despite shedding four 19-seat Beech 1900s from its fleet and experiencing incremental growth in load factors. According to CommutAir president Andy Price, unreasonable demands from former code-share partner US Airways and the inability of Continental’s smaller markets to support the regional airline’s fleet led to the losses and the ensuing decision to downsize.