Two years after entering bankruptcy protection, restructured Irish regional operator Aer Arann has embarked on a fleet-replacement program. Last month it neared a resolution to negotiations to acquire eight ATR 72-600s, reflecting expectations for rejuvenation of a business that has fought valiantly to escape the ravages of the Irish economic collapse.
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).
Europe’s regional airlines face many challenges–not least of which centers on trying to change the way politicians in Brussels view aviation. The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) expends much effort on behalf of its 65 members trying to convince Eurocrats that regional airlines provide vital economic links that need nurturing in an era of consistently high fuel prices and an economic downturn severe enough to threaten the very existence of the European Union.
At the end of 2012 Mike Ambrose, 67, will retire as director general of ERA after serving more than 25 years in the post. The ERA board has approved the elevation of Simon McNamara, 40, to the role from his current position as deputy director general.
As Hawaii’s Island Air enters a whole new phase of life this summer with the roll-out of a complete image and brand overhaul, half a world away Franco-Italian airframe maker ATR can add another regional carrier to its growing list of turboprop operators. By around the start of next month the long-time de Havilland Dash 8 operator officially begins the process of trading equipment allegiances with delivery of its first ex-American Eagle ATR 72-212, now undergoing a C-Check at Premier Aviation in Trois Rivieres, Quebec.
St. George, Utah-based SkyWest expects to ground 66 fifty-seat Bombardier CRJs and add 34 more dual-class Bombardier jets ranging in seating capacity from 65 to 76 seats under a memorandum of understanding signed with code-share partner Delta Air Lines, the world’s largest regional airline announced today.
The first airline in the Western Hemisphere to fly the current generation of 50-seat regional jets will cease all operations by the end of September. Delta Air Lines subsidiary Comair, a Bombardier CRJ operator since 1993, will fly its last passenger on September 29, marking the end of a 35-year run as one of the most recognizable names in the U.S. regional airline business.
ATR announced more than $600 million worth of firm orders at the show yesterday, led by an eight-unit deal with Taiwan’s TransAsia for ATR 72-600s. Meanwhile, the Franco-Italian manufacturer logged a separate pair of orders, each for two ATR 72-600s, from Air Lease Corporation and Lao Airlines.
Mitsubishi Aircraft received a huge dose of credibility at the Farnborough International airshow yesterday by announcing a 100-aircraft commitment for MRJ90s from the largest regional airline holding company in the world–SkyWest Airlines. The agreement in principle, signed just this week, potentially raises the MRJ regional jet family backlog to 170 airplanes and gives Mitsubishi its second major U.S. customer.
Interjet, the Western launch customer for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100), has converted its five options into firm orders (nominally valued at $175 million), bringing its total acquisition to 20 of the basic 93-passenger model.
Russian leasing group Ilyushin Finance Corp. (IFC) has signed an agreement for 15 aircraft from the Antonov An-148/158 family of regional airliners, valued at around $420 million based on list prices. IFC will in turn resell the aircraft to its new partner in Panama. South American Aircraft Leasing will place the twinjets with local carriers, with an initial three An-158s due to be delivered from December 2012.