After several years of 25-percent compound growth, UK regional British European Airlines is adopting a more measured approach to provide less unpredictable development after posting losses last year. Moves in late June to meet shareholders’ revised aims included the voluntary departure of chief executive Barry Perrott and the decision to release the Canadair RJ fleet.
Bombardier Dash 8
Reliance Aerotech, a business jet and regional airliner maintenance facility in Myrtle Beach, S.C., recently acquired the 180,000-sq-ft Flight International Services operation from Flight International Group, a charter, management and service firm in Newport News, Va. Flight International Services at Myrtle Beach will be renamed Reliance Aerotech Atlantic.
Bavarian regional airline Augsburg Airways, wholly owned by Germany’s Haindl family, hopes to approach break-even margins by the end of this year following a massive restructuring effort. Begun March 29 with a contract to revamp a six-year-old marketing relationship with Lufthansa Airlines, the overhaul has resulted in the loss of some 140 jobs and the grounding of five airplanes.
Regional Aviation Partners (RAP), the new Phoenix-based lobbying organization established by Mesa Air Group chairman Jonathan Ornstein as an advocate for small-community air service, has attracted its first new airline member and a pair of high-profile regional aircraft manufacturers in time for the start of the next congressional session this month.
Japan’s All Nippon Airways has placed an order for four 74-seat Bombardier Dash 8Q-400s, the first of which it plans to place into service next fall. The estimated $80 million deal will allow ANA to augment a 115-nm route between the western cities of Kochi and Osaka, where the group controls unused slots for propeller airplanes at Itami Airport.
US Airways’ June 27 announcement that it would replace Boeing 737-300s with de Havilland Dash 8s on its Charlotte to Asheville, N.C., route not only illustrated the continuing plight of the nation’s sixth-largest airline, it reinforced a trend long feared by mainline pilot groups.
To fly BE or to Flybe is the question that may confuse UK regional airline passengers, since British European Airlines announced on July 18 its plans to rebrand its services.
The Regional Airline Association has urged the FAA to expand its consultations with airlines on domestic reduced vertical separation minimums (DRVSM) to include regional jet operators “to enable an accurate assessment of the costs, benefits and impact on regional airlines.” In a comment to the FAA’s rule proposal, submitted August 8, RAA recommended that the agency amend the rule’s implementation date to ensure that RJs in the U.S.
National Jet Systems opened a regional aircraft maintenance facility in Brisbane, Australia. The 62,000-sq-ft complex includes a 46,000-sq-ft hangar that will hold three airliners simultaneously. The company operates a fleet of BAE Systems 146s and Avro RJs on wet leases for flag carrier Qantas and as corporate shuttles for the Australian mining industry.
The regional airline industry lost a legend on June 12, when Dick Henson succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 92.