US Airways yesterday announced it would add first-class seating and service on 110 US Airways Express regional jets operated by Republic Airways, Mesa Air Group and PSA. Plans call for the airline to install first-class seating on Embraer 170s and 175s, along with Bombardier CRJ700s and CRJ900s, beginning in October with the E175 fleet. It expects to finish outfitting the three remaining fleet types by the end of next January.
With larger airliners flying longer routes, accommodations that more truly live up to the to the term “first class” are in high demand, and EADS Sogerma (Hall 4 Stand E53) and Lufthansa Technik (Hall 4 Stand E54) plan to fill a niche in that market.
It was a short flight, two-and-a-half hours over the Pacific Ocean, but even that amount of time was enough to learn that business-class seats in an Emirates Airline Airbus A380 are the only way to fly on the airlines, especially when considering the 19-hour nonstop that the airline plans from Los Angeles to Dubai.
The scheduled airlines, after years of seeing business-class travelers lured away by business aviation operators, are fighting back.
Two-year-old Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has started life with such precocious growth rates that it makes neighborhood trailblazer Emirates Airline look almost conservative. In the Gulf region’s anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better air transport market, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways have continued to trump each other with ever more optimistic fleet expansion plans.
The airline industry has finally realized that business aviation is a best kept secret and has recently been maneuvering to offer its passengers a piece of the action. A number of leading European flagcarriers–Lufthansa, KLM and Swiss International Air Lines–now provide scheduled services with long-range Airbus A319 LRs and Boeing Business Jets (BBJs), all flown on their behalf by Swiss executive aviation provider PrivatAir.
Into an increasingly acrimonious atmosphere in which the airlines perceive business aviation as competition for high-end travelers comes a study suggesting that airline losses do not necessarily benefit business aviation. The study is from Washington, D.C.-based aviation consulting firm The Velocity Group.
Into an environment in which airlines perceive business aviation as competition for high-end travelers comes a study suggesting that business aviation is not necessarily benefiting from airline losses. According to the analysis–from Washington. D.C. consulting firm The Velocity Group–by fare category and estimates of business aircraft ridership, both the airlines and business aviation have shown similar growth between 2000 and 2005.