The Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan plans to launch a domestic airline, Air Kazakhstan, in early 2015 with a fleet of 10 new Bombardier Q400 twin turboprops.
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).
Mesa Airlines moved to position itself to add 30 new Embraer E175s over the next year into United Express service with some key management changes announced in late January.
Following its first full year of independent operations, the UK’s BMI Regional reported a so-called trading update and 2014 outlook in late January, under which it announced the launch of new intra-Scandinavia services involving several new destinations, a doubling of capacity on its Aberdeen-Oslo route and this month’s launch of Newcastle-Brussels service.
Sellers and lessors placed 23 Fokker aircraft with 12 existing and three new Fokker operators last year, Fokker Services announced in late January. The total comprises 12 Fokker 50s and 11 Fokker 100s. The company said that because various Fokker operators have chosen to retain their fleets longer than anticipated, the number of available aircraft did not grow as expected during the year, leading to fewer placements than in the previous two years.
As Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Silver Airways became the third U.S. regional airline this month to announce significant service cuts due to what it called a nationwide pilot shortage, the Regional Airline Association amplified its message of opposition to a new rule requiring 1,500 hours of flying experience for new-hire first officers.
Dunlop Aircraft Tyres (Booth M93) is exhibiting new radial tires for regional aircraft including the Embraer E-Jets and ATR 42/72. “This product innovation, combined with our new tire distribution and retreading facility in China, gives aircraft operators increased choice…in this expanding market,” said Ian Edmonson, the company’s chairman. Dunlop’s Asia Pacific customers include China Eastern Airways, Lion Air, SpiceJet and Qantas link.
PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI, Indonesian Aerospace) expects to fly its N219 twin-turboprop transport next year. The aircraft has been under development for some time to answer a need for a rugged STOL airliner able to operate in and out of remote, semi-prepared airstrips. At the same time, the N219 is intended to provide cost-efficient and reliable operations through the use of modern avionics and engines.
For Brazil’s Embraer, a lot has changed in the 13 years since it first laid brick and mortar in Asia. The world’s major airframe makers now consider the Asia Pacific region the biggest market for airliners in the world, and Embraer’s establishment first of an office in Beijing and later a joint-venture to build ERJ 145 regional jets in Harbin has proved prescient.
As series production of Antonov’s new-generation An-148 and An-158 regional jets gains momentum, the manufacturer and its close ally lessor Ilyushin Finance Co. (IFC) are trying to raise the type’s temporary operational limitations.
For Franco-Italian regional turboprop manufacturer ATR (Booth E01), the Asia Pacific region now takes top spot in its geographic sales rankings, but orders from China still seem to be eluding the company. Last year ATR saw orders and deliveries grow again, reaching record levels and steady profitability, but it has yet to convince shareholders Airbus Group and Finmeccanica to launch a new larger turboprop in the 90-seat category.