Something positive might come from the February 12 crash of a Colgan Air Bombardier Q400 after all, if a broad FAA effort to revamp rules governing airline pilot records, fatigue and training ultimately bears fruit.
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 DOT has awarded Portland, Ore.-based SeaPort Airlines Essential Air Service subsidies for routes from Memphis to four Arkansas communities starting October 1. Harrison, Hot Springs, El Dorado and Jonesboro, Ark., have gone without scheduled service since June 1 of last year, when Mesa Air Group dissolved Air Midwest, ending its Beech 1900 service to the four cities from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
The second ARJ21-700 jet flew for the first time on July 1. The airplane took off from Dachang Airport in Shanghai, where the Shanghai Aircraft Company performs final assembly, a month after rolling out of the factory and two weeks after its first taxi tests. The flight lasted 61 minutes, during which time the airplane cruised at an altitude of 9,000 feet.
Delta Air Lines’ plans to cut another 10 percent of its system capacity this fall will result in the loss of 100 pilot jobs at Comair, 110 at Mesaba Airlines and 56 at Atlantic Southeast. ASA’s cuts take effect September 1, while a planned 20-percent drop in block hours by the end of September at Comair will require a broad review of all staffing levels “in the coming weeks.”
A U.S. Court of Appeals last month affirmed the preliminary injunction that barred Delta Air Lines from ending Mesa Air Group’s Delta Connection agreement covering 22 Embraer ERJ 145s. A U.S. District Court issued the injunction in May of last year after Delta alleged that Mesa subsidiary Freedom Airlines failed to meet completion rate guarantees.
Republic Airways stands to become the 11th largest airline in the U.S. if its plans to acquire Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines and sponsor Frontier Airlines’ emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy meet with regulators’ approval. Republic, which now consists of Republic Airlines, Chautauqua Airlines and Shuttle America, already ranks as one of the regional airline industry’s largest groups, flying 212 regional jets for six mainline partners.
Development of Mitsubishi Aircraft’s MRJ regional jet continues on schedule, as some 800 engineers, designers and subcontractors in Nagoya, Japan, work to complete the project’s critical design review by the end of this year. Finished with the project’s preliminary design review in April, the engineering team aims to ready the first of four MRJ90 prototypes for first flight near the end of 2011.
Ukrainian airline AeroSvit launched passenger service with the first Antonov An-148-100 regional jet on a June 2 flight between Borispol International Airport, outside Kiev, and Kharkov, in northeastern Ukraine. Built by Kiev’s Aviant and used to gain CIS certification in 2007, the 70-seat regional jet took off from Kiev Borispol at 1:30 p.m. and landed in Kharkov at 2:50 p.m.
The FAA continued to investigate charges leveled at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Gulfstream International Airlines last month after proposing in May that the carrier pay a $1.3 million fine for duty-time violations and installing automotive air-conditioner compressors and improperly maintained vent blowers on its fleet of 27 Beech 1900Ds.
An FAA inspector has filed a federal “whistleblower” complaint against his employer, charging the agency with removing him from his field position overseeing the certification of Colgan Air’s Bombardier Q400 operation last year when he raised concerns about pilot flying performance and the airline’s safety culture.