The first flying prototype of the Sukhoi Superjet (SSJ) 100 regional jet, the second airframe built, was handed over to Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee Register for certification flying in late October. Four aircraft will participate in the program, and six in general flight testing.
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).
What will the regional airline industry look like when the economic dust settles? That’s the question the Regional Airline Association challenged its panelists to answer at the RAA fall meeting, held October 28 and 29 in Washington, D.C.
Irish-American aircraft lessor GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS) is to acquire as many as 25 General Electric CF34-powered ARJ21-700ER regional jets from China Aviation Industry I (AVIC I) Commercial Aircraft Company (ACAC) for delivery from 2013 in a deal signed last month at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai.
Grand China Express (GCE), the country’s largest regional carrier, wants to be Asia’s biggest regional carrier. A subsidiary of Hainan Airlines, GCE has 38 aircraft serving 55 Chinese cities with more than 80 scheduled daily routes. “We aim to be the top player in Asia by 2012, grabbing 90 percent of the regional airline market,” said Chen Feng, chairman of Hainan Airlines, which ordered 50 E190s and 50 ERJ 145s for GCE in August 2006.
China’s Joy Air has ordered three Modern Ark 60 (MA-60) jets and is negotiating to buy 10 advanced MA-600s. Manufacturer Xi’an Aircraft International said the Civil Aviation Flight University of China has also ordered two MA-600s. Established in March this year, Joy Air is a joint venture of China Aviation Industry Corp. I and China Eastern Airlines.
Mitsubishi Aircraft is considering a stretched variant of its regional jet and is analyzing market demand. Senior executive v-p Junichi Miyakawa believes the basic MRJ model has potential to accommodate as many as 112 passengers. “We are looking to our customers to see the market requirement,” he said.
Embraer confirms that “at the present time” it has no large-airplane project. The Brazilian manufacturer concedes, however, that initiatives for joint ventures
or new products could arise later.
Embraer released its first market outlook dedicated to the Chinese market at Airshow China 2008 in the People’s Republic of China. In it,
Midwest Airlines will replace all but nine of its Boeing 717s with 12 Embraer E170s flown by Indianapolis-based Republic Airways as part of an effort to restructure its fleet and fend off bankruptcy. As part of the deal, Midwest announced that Republic flight crew would fly the 12 E170s as Midwest Connect, temporarily replacing Midwest Airlines Boeing 717 crew until they receive training on the Brazilian equipment.
Virgin Nigeria took delivery of its first Embraer E190 in late September during a ceremony held at Embraer’s manufacturing plant in São Jose dos Campos, Brazil. The Lagos-based airline announced during last November’s Dubai Air Show that it had placed firm orders for three E190ARs and seven E170ARs, along with options on six more E190s and purchase rights for another eight E-Jets.