Swedish cargo operator Nord-Flyg has launched a Q400 PF (Package Freighter) program with Canada’s Cascade Aerospace using two of the Bombardier turboprops previously owned by SAS. Abbotsford, British Columbia-based Cascade also signed a letter of intent to convert another three Q400s for Nord-Flyg. The Swedish airline plans to use the airplanes for overnight package delivery in Europe, according to Bombardier.
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).
Regional carriers Comair, Republic and Trans States last month announced plans to cut hundreds of jobs. Some of the biggest cuts will come from Cincinnati-based Comair, which expects to cut 300 pilot jobs and 220 flight attendant positions as the airline moves forward with plans to remove 15 percent of its flying capacity starting next month.
Houston-based ExpressJet and Delta Air Lines will end their code-share relationship effective September 1, and ExpressJet will cease all scheduled flying under its own brand on September 2, the companies announced last month. The moves will result in the removal from service of 39 Embraer ERJ 145s from the ExpressJet fleet.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Gulfstream International Airlines will begin flying Beech 1900Ds to five EAS destinations from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport under an expanded code-share deal with Continental Airlines. The contract calls for Gulfstream to begin serving DuBois and Franklin, Pa., and Lewisburg, W.Va., on September 3. It plans then to launch service to Bradford, Pa., and Jamestown, N.Y., on October 1.
Horizon Air will ground all 12 of its remaining Bombardier Q200 turboprops by October 28 and begin retiring its CRJ700 regional jets next month under a plan to accelerate its transition to a uniform fleet of Q400 turboprops. Horizon now expects to remove all its 70-seat CRJ700s and add 14 more 76-seat Q400s by the end of next year in an effort to ease the sting of soaring fuel prices.
American Eagle will cut its daily schedule by 37 flights at New York La Guardia Airport, 34 flights in Chicago and seven in Boston, close its stations in Albany, N.Y.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Providence, R.I.; San Luis Obispo, Calif.; and Samana, Dominican Republic; and ground 29 of its 37-seat Embraer ERJ 135s along with 25 Saab 340 turboprops as American Airlines proceeds with plans to slash capacity this fall by 12 percent systemwide.
As analysts and pundits debated the merits and launch prospects of Bombardier’s C Series airliner, the Canadian manufacturer quietly went about its business readying yet another version of its CRJ series for first flight.
For the first time in recent memory the U.S. regional airline industry could experience a drop in passenger boardings during the second half of this year as skyrocketing fuel costs prompt the nation’s major airlines to reconsider the use of their partners’ most fuel-thirsty assets.
SkyWest last month withdrew its offer to buy Houston’s ExpressJet after concluding that a new seven-year capacity purchase agreement entered by ExpressJet and Continental Airlines rules out any deal. “Although we continue to believe our offer represented a favorable opportunity for ExpressJet stakeholders, the execution of a new ExpressJet capacity purchase agreement removes a fundamental component of our offer,” said SkyWest CFO Brad Rich.
Hawaiian de Havilland Dash 8 operator IslandAir withdrew from a newly awarded Essential Air Service (EAS) contract to serve four mainland communities from Kansas City last month after deeming its plans to start operations in September “unrealistic” due to rising fuel costs and a shortage of trained personnel.