Two partial gear-up landings by Bombardier regional jets in three days in late September prompted the NTSB to investigate a possible connection between the incidents and other CRJ landing-gear failures over the past two years.
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).
From a distance, the reason regional airlines would oppose a new law passed by Congress that sets a 1,500 flight-hour minimum for Part 121 first officers might seem obvious: The pool of pilots from which airlines can choose prospective employees will inevitably shrink. The rules of supply and demand dictate that the cost of hiring first officers will therefore rise.
As airline traffic continues to recover from the global recession, airframe and engine manufacturers continue to develop new models and consider follow-on products. Several companies provided updates at the European Regions Airline Association assembly in Barcelona in late September.
The European Regions Airline Association, which represents 70 intra-European airlines, has welcomed the “modest sign of gradual recovery” from the global recession. But the effect of airspace closures following the Icelandic volcanic eruption in April offset apparently strong underlying growth in European regional air travel in the year’s first half.
European Regions Airline Association member airlines expressed “outrage” at the failure of national governments in the region to compensate them for costs incurred in reimbursing passengers for flight cancellations following the eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull in April.
The sixth and final Boeing 787 to join the flight test fleet flew for the first time earlier this month from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. The airplane, ZA006, landed at Seattle’s Boeing Field as planned, but two hours earlier than expected.
Although deliveries of smaller regional jets have dropped dramatically in the past few years, Forecast International expects growing numbers of jets to be delivered from 2010 through 2019. In its recent study, “The Market for Regional Transport Aircraft,” Newtown, Conn.-based Forecast International projects production of 4,016 regional turboprops and jets valued at $123 billion during the coming decade.
Vietnam’s Air Mekong, 30-percent owned by U.S. regional airline SkyWest, plans to launch domestic services on October 9 using four 86-seat Bombardier CRJ900s subleased from the St. George, Utah-based regional.
Rolls-Royce in late August filed a complaint alleging infringement by United Technologies (UTC) of the patent for the Rolls-Royce swept fan blade–the same design, claims Rolls, that UTC subsidiary Pratt & Whitney used in its PW1000G PurePower geared turbofan for the Bombardier C Series and Mitsubishi MRJ.
No one would ever accuse Embraer CEO Frederico Curado of letting ego or impatience influence his decision-making. So when he insisted Embraer’s advantageous competitive position affords him the luxury of time as he deliberates over a new product strategy for the single-aisle airliner market, the company’s stakeholders could rest assured that Curado soberly considered the implications of waiting.