Russia’s UTair placed a firm purchase order last month covering 20 new ATR 72-500s. Valued at $426 million, the deal brings to 37 the number of ATR turboprops UTair either operates now or plans to accept, potentially making it the largest ATR operator in Europe. ATR said it planned to deliver the first airplane during last month’s third full week, and complete deliveries by the end of next year.
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).
The management and pilots of American Eagle are “aggressively” preparing for an eventual divestiture of the regional airline from AMR, Eagle’s Air Line Pilots Association master executive council vice chairman, Dave Ryter, told AIN in late March.
Ever the optimist, Roger Cohen stayed true to form as he talked about his most pressing concerns for the Regional Airline Association and its membership for the next year during a pre-convention interview with AIN. The RAA president seems always to see opportunity in the challenges confronting the association and its 30 member airlines, perhaps most notably in the evolving regulatory environment they face.
Regional carriers in Europe say that consultation and communication between the industry and regulators and lawmakers has improved, but they await better balance of consumer-rights legislation among all transport modes.
As a 9,000-hour ATP-rated pilot and a former senior manager in Allegheny Airlines’ flight operations and safety department, RAA senior vice president of operations and safety Scott Foose perhaps brings as balanced a perspective as one could expect when it comes to the issue of fatigue in the cockpit.
RAA senior vice president for government affairs Faye Malarkey Black concedes she might have let some Washington cynicism and weariness over a budget battle that has been going on since 2007 color her judgment during last year’s RAA fall meeting, when she predicted that an FAA reauthorization bill would not pass this year.
A born and bred product of Wisconsin, Jim Rankin brings a Midwestern work ethic to his duties as RAA chairman and CEO of Air Wisconsin alike. For the last five years Rankin has led Air Wisconsin through a volatile period in which his avowed conservatism kept the carrier on a level and profitable track. Should Rankin bring the same sort of stability to the RAA, the board of directors should consider itself fortunate.
US Airways announced last month it would add first-class seating and service on 110 US Airways Express regional jets operated by Republic Airways, Mesa Air Group and PSA. Plans call for the airline to install first-class seating on Embraer E170s and E175s, along with Bombardier CRJ700s and CRJ900s, beginning in October with the E175 fleet. It expects to finish outfitting the three remaining types by the end of January.
The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced new airline passenger protections that will extend the ban on ramp delays to international flights and, crucially for regional airlines, require carriers to coordinate so-called ramp delay contingency plans with small and non-hub airports.
Investigators suspect a faulty airspeed indication as a possible cause of the crash of an Antonov An-148 in western Russia on March 5, killing all six people aboard, Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency reported. The investigation team has theorized that the pilots, misled by the faulty airspeed indication, inadvertently exceeded the aircraft’s speed limit, resulting in excessive loads on the airframe.