With its diverse geography and increasingly prosperous and mobile populations, Southeast Asia has become a target of opportunity the world’s regional aircraft OEMs can no longer afford to overlook. One of the earliest to tap the region’s potential, Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR, has for the past 15 years developed a visibility in the region unmatched by its competitors. While others concentrated on the U.S. and Europe, ATR, perhaps out of necessity, took to exploiting less obvious opportunities in developing markets within Vietnam and Thailand, for example.
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 U.S. Supreme Court last Monday overturned a lower court decision to award $1.2 million to former Air Wisconsin pilot William Hoeper for defamation, ruling that the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) ensures that airlines enjoy immunity from liability in reporting security concerns about an individual to the Transportation Security Administration as long as they do not knowingly disclose false, inaccurate or misleading information.
Iraqi national carrier Iraqi Airways has signed a firm order for five Bombardier CSeries CS300s and reserved options on another 11, Bombardier announced last month. The firm order came only two weeks after the parties announced a letter of intent at the Dubai Airshow. Bombardier places the value of the order at some $387 million based on list prices. If Iraqi Airways exercises all its options, the value would rise to $1.26 billion.
China’s Avic officially launched the MA700 turboprop program last Thursday in Beijing, according to the Chinese state-run press service The People’s Daily.
American Airlines has signed a pair of firm orders covering a total of 90 new Embraer and Bombardier regional jets for placement with its American Eagle regional affiliates, the airline announced Thursday. The deals involve 30 seventy-six-seat Bombardier CRJ900s and 60 Embraer E175s.
The third Sukhoi Superjet 100 for Mexican airline Interjet landed in Toluca, Mexico, on November 6, joining two SSJ100s already in service with the airline. The aircraft rolled out from SuperJet International’s hangar in Venice, Italy, upon completion of customization and a technical acceptance procedure on November 5. On the same day, MSN 95208 took off from Venice Marco Polo Airport for the ferry flight to Toluca, following stops in Keflavik, Iceland, and Bangor, Maine.
In late October Air Seychelles announced its purchase of three 19-seat Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400s as part of a plan to renew its domestic fleet for services between Mahé and Praslin, as well as other islands in the archipelago, including Bird, Denis and Frégate. The airline expects to take all three turboprops by mid-2015 but holds an option for earlier delivery if aircraft become available. It now operates one Viking Twin Otter Series 400 and three aging de Havilland Canada-built Series 300s, all of which it plans to replace with the newly ordered airplanes.
Exeter, UK-based Flybe plans to slash another 500 jobs as part of a continuing cost-cutting exercise centered on removing excess capacity and improving worker productivity. The announcement follows an earlier round of cuts that saw Flybe shed 590 jobs this year. The company employed some 2,700 people at the end of September.
ATR and lessor GE Capital Aviation Services (Gecas) have closed a $241 million deal here at the Dubai Airshow for five ATR 72-600 regional turboprops, plus five options. ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato and Gecas president and CEO Norman Liu signed the contract here on Sunday. “These aircraft will support the strong growth in regional air transport we anticipate over the coming years,” Liu said. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2015. Previously at the show, ATR (Stand 1424) also announced an order from Saudi Arabia’s Alpha Star Aviation Services.
Saudi Arabia’s Alpha Star Aviation Services (Stand 806) has signed a firm order for a single ATR 72-600, marking the first sale of ATR’s latest turboprop series in the Middle East. Alpha Star, which also reserved an option on another of the Pratt & Whitney PW127M-powered turboprops, now operates an ATR 42-600. It expects its first ATR 72 to arrive in September 2014.