China’s Civil Aviation Authority issued the Comac ARJ21-700 type inspection authorization in late February, allowing it to begin the final process of flight-test certification, according to the state-run China Daily.
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).
Estonian Air has chosen Embraer’s line of E-Jets to revamp its entire fleet of narrow-body and regional jets, Embraer announced in late February. The national flag carrier of Estonia and the Brazilian manufacturer have signed a contract for the purchase of three E175s and one E190. Estonian Air also plans to take eight more Embraer aircraft–four E170s and four E190s–under a combination of lease agreements with third parties and leasing companies. At press time the direct purchase from Embraer remained subject to the approval of Estonian Air’s Supervisory Council.
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft saw its backlog for Q400s grow last month by more than 25 percent with a single firm order from Poland’s Eurolot for eight of the high-speed turboprops, along with options on another 12. The deal not only helps rejuvenate the Q400’s recently growing, but still weak, backlog, but it also signals a shift in Eurolot’s loyalties from ATR, 14 of whose airplanes the Polish airline now operates.
The FAA proposed levying a civil penalty of $153,000 on Colgan Air last month for allegedly operating 17 flights without giving pilots or flight attendants the required minimum amount of rest.
The last of 11 ATR 72-500s grounded on March 18 by New Zealand’s Mount Cook Airlines due to hairline cracks found on a front fuselage frame will likely return to service by the end of this week, an ATR spokesman told AIN Thursday. Subsequent checks on the entire fleet showed similar cracks on at least nine of the airplanes.
Export Development Canada (EDC) has agreed to defer $16.6 million worth of loan payments for the fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprops operated by Pinnacle Airlines subsidiary Colgan Air, a Pinnacle filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed in late January. According to the document, the EDC agreed to defer payments and withhold any “enforcement action” from January 14 through March 31.
American Eagle will furlough 50 pilots effective April 5 in connection with bankrupt parent company American Airlines’ decision to remove another nine ATR 72s from its regional subsidiary’s fleet, this time from its Miami base, according to an internal “Eaglewire” American Eagle president Dan Garton sent to employees yesterday.
The Western world’s two remaining turboprop makers each made sales headlines at last week’s Singapore Airshow, where Indonesia’s Lion Air padded ATR’s already robust order book and Bombardier’s Q400 showed signs of life following a lengthy dry spell.
Canada’s Bombardier identified China Express Airlines as a customer for its CRJ900 regional jet last week during Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Beijing for the Canada China Business Forum. The conditional order for six dual-class-configured CRJ900s plus options on another five, signed late last year, will give Bombardier its first sale of a new commercial airplane in China in “eight or nine years.”
A growing appetite among Indian carriers to serve regional routes makes the country a potentially big market for 250 regional jets with a capacity of up to 120 seats, according to Brazilian airframer Embraer. Twin-turboprop manufacturer ATR estimates in the next five years India will requirearound 100 aircraft,and 200 in the longer term.