Growing distrust between elements within various pilot groups and airline management over the use of confidential safety information is threatening the integrity and effectiveness of the FAA’s Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), according to the Regional Airline Association. In fact, the issue dominated the discourse during a December meeting of some 20 regional airline safety directors at RAA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
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).
Pinnacle Airlines subsidiary Colgan Air signed a firm order last month to acquire 15 more Q400 NextGen turboprops worth some $432 million. The transaction involves the conversion of a conditional order for 10 airplanes to firm status and the exercise of options Pinnacle placed on five in 2007. Scheduled for delivery between August 2010 and April 2011, the latest tranche of turboprops would increase the size of the fleet to 30.
China’s Xi’an Aircraft Industry Company (XAC) has started preliminary work on the Modern Ark 700 (MA700), a 70-seat turboprop regional aircraft that it expects to fly by 2013 or 2014.
The MA700 would be more energy-efficient than the Chinese turboprop now under development–the 60-seat MA600– and designed for high-altitude operations, said Geng Ruoguang, vice general manager of China Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC), parent of XAC.
Atlantic Southeast Airlines sent furlough notices to 80 pilots last month as partner Delta Air Lines pares back Bombardier CRJ flying. The furloughs take effect February 9. Delta plans to cut its domestic capacity by 8 percent to 10 percent this year in response to falling travel demand.
Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Great Lakes Aviation announced it would launch EAS routes to four Montana destinations from Billings on February 1, marking an end to nearly a year’s wait for service since the now defunct Big Sky Airlines stopped flying to Glasgow, Glendive, Havre and Wolf Point.
The second of four planned Sukhoi SSJ100 prototypes–S/N 95003–took to the skies on December 24, joining the flight-test program started in May with the first flight of S/N 95001. The aircraft took off from the factory runway and safely landed after a two-hour, 30-minute flight that reached an altitude of 20,000 feet. Piloted by Sukhoi test pilot Capt.
Horizon Air has negotiated a deferral of Q400 deliveries with Bombardier to re-time the shipments to coincide with the removal of the Seattle-based regional’s CRJ700 fleet. Horizon announced last year that it planned to sell its 70-seat jets, but as of last month it continued to fly 18 of them and had managed to sell just two to an operator outside the U.S.
Embraer delivered a record 204 airplanes last year, including 162 jets in the regional/commercial sector, leaving the company on what it hopes proves firm enough financial footing to readily absorb the economic “challenges” that lie ahead for this year.
A labor arbitrator rejected a grievance filed by the ALPA-represented pilots of Midwest Airlines challenging the Milwaukee-based carrier’s decision to replace mainline Boeing 717 service with 12 Embraer E170s operated by Indianapolis-based Republic Airways. The first of the 76-seat Embraer jets, at one time used to serve Republic’s now dissolved Frontier Express network, began flying as Midwest Connect on October 1.
British Airways has ordered six Embraer E170s and five E190SRs for its wholly owned CityFlyer regional affiliate in a deal valued at some $376 million. The contract includes options on another three E190SRs, which, if converted, would raise the total value of the transaction to $489 million