Current Pinnacle Airlines COO John Spanjers will replace Sean Menke as chief executive of the Memphis, Tennessee-based regional airline group on June 1, Pinnacle said in a statement issued Thursday. Menke, who, according to Pinnacle, has chosen to resign from the company, has agreed to help with the leadership transition over the next five weeks.
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).
Accra, Ghana-based Aero Surveys, operating under the commercial name Starbow, plans to lease two more BAe 146 regional jetliners starting in May. The aircraft, one BAe 146-300 and one BAe 146-200, will double its fleet size to four aircraft and will add capacity to satisfy increasing demand.
Former All Nippon Airways executive Jason Bitter succeeded Mark Shelton as CEO of Perth, Australia-based Skywest Airlines last month. Shelton abruptly resigned from the post “for personal reasons,” according to Skywest Group executive chairman Jeff Chatfield.
Bitter has held a number of high-level executive positions during his 15 years in the airline industry, including COO of SpiceJet, CEO of Skyeurope and chief executive of Air Arabia Maroc. Most recently, he helped launch ANA’s new low-fare subsidiary, Peach Aviation.
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.
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.