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.
News and issues relating specifically to regional airlines, including aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training; and coverage of annual conventions of the U.S. Regional Airline Association (RAA) and European Regions Airline Association (ERA).
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.
Change is afoot in the European regional airline sector, it would seem. Gone are the days of the “us and them,” with the regionals on one side, the major airlines on another and the low-cost carriers playing the role of bad-boy upstarts.
An Antonov An-140 operated by Iranian carrier Taban Air crashed on Sunday almost immediately following takeoff from Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport, killing 40 of the 48 people on board. The airplane, built in Iran under license by HESA and branded the Iran-140, took off at 9:45 a.m.
Embraer has signed Tianjin Airlines, the first E190 Chinese operator and the largest E-Jet carrier in Asia, as the launch user in China for the manufacturer’s Ahead-Pro (Aircraft Health Analysis and Diagnosis-Prognosis) system. The contract calls for Embraer to install the system in all 50 of Tianjin Airlines’ E-Jets.
Russia’s Aviation Register of Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC AR) issued a supplemental type certificate in late June that allows the Sukhoi Superjet 100 to execute Cat IIIa automatic landings.
This STC allows the SSJ100 to land at Cat IIIa-certified runways when visibility does not exceed 175 meters and when the crosswind component does not exceed 10 meters per second (19 knots).
Trans States Holdings subsidiary Compass Airlines has won the right to fly 20 new 76-seat Embraer E175s owned by American Airlines, the first of which the regional airline expects to add to its fleet in the first quarter of next year. Under the terms of a new code-share deal with American, Trans States will fly the airplanes as American Eagle from a hub yet to be announced.
“We are currently evaluating where the new E175s that will be operated by Compass will be deployed and will share that information at a later date,” said American Airlines in a written statement.
Designing a new aircraft in the 90-seat class is no longer a priority, ATR CEO Patrick de Castelbajac explained yesterday here at the Farnborough International Airshow. “It was something my predecessor was very keen on, as were probably 95 percent of our employees and a number of our customers,” he stated. However, he pointed out that major shareholder Airbus Group believes “the timing is not now” for such an ambitious project.
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