The relationship between Pinnacle Airlines and its pilot group turned from frosty to malevolent last month as the Memphis-based regional filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). Pinnacle claims that bad-faith bargaining on the part of ALPA has unnecessarily stalled negotiations and resulted in the loss of 17 of its 50-seat jets and a chance to fly 76-seat jets for Northwest Airlines.
Aviation International News » February 2008
Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines announced last month that it will transfer all the routes now flown by its Skyway Airlines regional subsidiary to independent affiliate SkyWest Airlines. The transition will occur during March and April and involve the replacement of all 12 of Skyway’s Fairchild Dornier 328Jets with as many as eight SkyWest CRJ200s.
Having apparently found a sweet spot in serving the offshore oil market, Denmark-based Dancopter has grown fast since it started operating helicopters in 2003. On the heels of its success, the company is planning to expand its fleet, service area and service offerings. According to managing director Nil Skeby, the company operates four pre-owned Eurocopter EC 155B1s, the last having been delivered in December 2007.
Pentagon sources confirmed to AIN that Lockheed Martin has been ordered to stop work on the development of a second block of AW-101-variant helicopters scheduled to join the U.S. presidential fleet in 2015, while the Department of Defense reassesses the program and perhaps seeks alternatives that could include the Sikorsky S-92. When the President is aboard, these helicopters are designated “Marine One.”
Mayo Medical Transport took delivery of a new Eurocopter EC 145 in December. The helicopter, completed by Air Methods’ products division, is the first EC 145 Air Methods completed for an outside customer. The Mayo EC 145 is equipped with a seven-liter external liquid oxygen system to create more cabin space. The helicopter also features an NVIS-compatible dual-pilot IFR cockpit, satcom datalink and TCAS.
Eurocopter delivered the first two EC 225 medium twins in China to the Ministry of Communications in Zhuhai late last year. The China Rescue and Salvage Bureau will operate the helicopters on search-and-rescue missions.
The SNPL, the French chapter of the ALPA pilot union, has called for a new strike among EMS helicopter pilots, claiming it is not satisfied with either the proposed work duration rules or salary negotiations. After a 10-day strike that lasted from December 24 to January 2, the union called another work stoppage from January 13 to February 1. These actions follow previous strikes last summer.
Helicopter traffic around the Statfjord and Gullfaks offshore oil fields in Norway was disrupted on December 11 by the incursion of the Russian carrier/cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, along with two Udaloy-class cruisers. About 14 helicopters carrying oil workers had to scrub their flights because of Sukhoi Su-33 fighter activity in the air.
French-based Hélicoptères Guimbal received EASA certification for its Cabri G2 light piston single. The two-seater will compete with the ubiquitous Robinson R22. Because Eurocopter has supported designer Bruno Guimbal, the Cabri shares some technical similarities with Eurocopter rotorcraft such as the shrouded tail rotor.
The Helicopter Association International (HAI) celebrates its 60th anniversary this year with what appears likely to go down as one of the biggest Heli-Expo conventions ever.