Latin America’s business jet fleet has seen modest growth over the past 12 months, but it has still not achieved any substantial increase over the past decade. As of December 31 last year there were a total of 907 jet-powered business aircraft registered in 15 Latin American countries monitored by aviation consulting group Airclaims–up by slightly less than 5 percent from the 2003 total of 868.
Delta Air Lines
Mesaba Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) reached a tentative agreement on a new contract last month for the airline’s 844 pilots, averting a threatened strike by a matter of hours. ALPA and Mesaba had engaged in negotiations since June 2001 to no avail, prompting the National Mediation Board to call an impasse and a 30-day “cooling off period,” after which the pilots could have legally walked off the job.
It had been a somewhat quiet year since the RAA staged its annual convention in St. Louis last May. Seemingly immune to the ills that have crippled their mainline counterparts for the past four years, the regional airlines finished last year with close to 30-percent traffic gains and average yields of 10 percent, leaving many wondering how long the major airlines would allow such an imbalance to continue.
Comair pilots have agreed to forego salary increases for the next 2.5 years in return for a promise by the airline to add 20 fifty-seat and 15 seventy-seat regional jets, contingent on similar concessions from mechanics and flight attendants. Sixty-one percent of the pilots voted to accept the agreement, which amends the rest of the current contract with the Air Line Pilots Association and extends it by a year into 2007.
SkyWest COO Brad Rich said last month that Delta Air Lines has “expressed its desire specifically to us” to sell one or both of its regional subsidiaries–Atlantic Southeast Airlines and Comair–to the St. George, Utah-based regional carrier. “I think it’s more than just an interest,” said Rich. “They need to generate some capital somewhere, and this is one way to do it.”
Delta Air Lines subsidiary Comair took delivery of the 1,000th production regional jet built by Bombardier Aerospace during a December 9 ceremony at the company’s plant in Dorval, Quebec.
Minneapolis-based Mesaba Aviation has until January 10 to negotiate a new collective-bargaining agreement with its pilots or face the prospect of a strike. Last month the airline received a letter from the National Mediation Board indicating the start of a 30-day “cooling-off period” in its contract negotiations with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).
Matsushita Avionics Systems might not be a company with which many people are intimately familiar, but chances are most of the business aviation industry will know quite a lot about MAS soon enough. A top supplier of in-flight entertainment systems to the airlines for more than 25 years, the Bothell, Wash.-based cabin avionics supplier this year is making its first serious foray into the business aviation IFE market.
Bombardier announced plans to cut this year’s CRJ200 production by another 20 percent just days after Standard & Poor’s lowered the company’s credit rating to junk status and issued a “negative” outlook for Bombardier’s regional jet prospects.
Northwest Airlines will have to add a third regional partner if it wants more 50-seat jets for its Northwest Airlink division, according to an agreement with its pilots to limit the number of regional jets it leases to Pinnacle and Mesaba Airlines.