Northwest Airlines’ plans for a new regional subsidiary all hinge upon a May 3 tally of votes cast by its pilots on a new tentative contract that would allow the unit, called Compass Airlines, to fly regional jets certified to hold up to 76 seats. Northwest hopes to launch the operation next month with a single 50-seat CRJ200 flying twice daily between Minneapolis and Washington Dulles International Airport.
Aviation International News » May 2006
Jonathan Ornstein’s mission to sink at least one of Hawaii’s two major airlines officially begins June 9, when Mesa Air Group’s new Go! subsidiary starts flying 16 daily round trips with three Bombardier CRJ200s from Honolulu to Kona, Kahului in Maui and Kauai for $39 each way. On June 30, as it adds service from Honolulu to Hilo, it plans to nearly double service to 31 round trips a day and increase the CRJ fleet to five.
Continental Airlines last month accepted a bid from Indianapolis-based Chautauqua Airlines to fly at least 69 regional jets slated for withdrawal from its capacity purchase agreement with long-time Continental Express partner ExpressJet. Continental plans to start the transition in January and finish by the end of next summer.
A subtle change in the material used in an electrical component caused seven fires in Bombardier CRJs, according to an NTSB recommendation released on March 30. Tyco Hartman, the manufacturer of the component, changed the material and didn’t notify Bombardier that the new part was coated with a different material that turned out to be susceptible to moisture-induced arc-tracking.
Like most segments of the aviation industry, regional airlines have cast their collective eyes on topic number one of late–how to finance the FAA. Although Congress might not move forward with specific legislation related to FAA funding until next year, both the House and Senate will hold hearings on the subject throughout the year.
Although it will mark the formal market introduction of the last and largest E-Jet, the scheduled July certification of the 108-seat Embraer 195 by no means signals the end of the company’s work on the series. In a way, it represents a beginning, as Embraer can now turn its full attention to building production efficiency and, more important to its customers, adding facility and reliability to the airplanes themselves.
The time has come to forget industry recovery and talk instead of progress, said European Regions Airline Association (ERA) president Antonis Simigdalas in his opening remarks during the group’s March conference in Copenhagen. Perhaps the one area in which operators seek progress more than any other involves their reaction to high fuel costs.
There’s no denying that Bombardier’s commercial aircraft business has reached a crossroads, and that a still ailing airline industry will dictate the direction it ultimately turns.
As Aloha and Hawaiian Airlines drew the battle lines in preparation for Mesa Air Group’s planned June 9 incursion on their jealously guarded pieces of island turf, Hawaii’s most prominent RAA member, Honolulu-based Island Air, quietly hunkered down for the coming storm. Happily for CEO Mark Mauracher, the little but growing Bombardier turboprop operator can afford to assume the role of spectator.