In seeking to consummate its proposed strategic alliance with Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic Airways aims to head off the challenge posed by the formidable pairing of British Airways and American Airlines. So who did Virgin chairman Sir Richard Branson recruit to succeed retiring CEO Steve Ridgway? Why, naturally, a senior American Airlines executive in the shape of senior vice president for customers Craig Kreeger, who assumes his new role from February 1.
Delta Air Lines
Pinnacle Airlines and its wholly owned subsidiaries have entered into a series of agreements that would provide a path forward for the company to emerge from bankruptcy under the ownership of Delta Air Lines or an affiliate, the company announced Thursday.
A new pilot contract ratified by the pilots of United Airlines on December 15 will open more opportunities for “large” regional airplane flying by United Express affiliates but likely result in another large-scale grounding of 50-seat regional jets. It also appears to signal a desire for United to add 90- to 120-seat narrowbodies in the category of the Embraer E190/195 and Bombardier CSeries CS100 some time after January 2016.
The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) has promoted Kevin Hiatt, most recently COO, to the position of president and CEO, starting in January. He succeeds Bill Voss, who will return to the FAA as an executive in aviation safety after six years at the helm of the foundation. Before joining the foundation in 2005, Hiatt spent 26 years with Delta Air Lines in various positions, including chief pilot at the Atlanta International pilot crew base.
Virgin Group boss Richard Branson insists that Virgin Atlantic’s brand will remain intact well into the future following Delta Air Lines’ planned purchase of Singapore Airlines’ 49-percent stake in the UK carrier. “First of all, ignore the press speculation, the British Airways speculation,” said Branson via a video feed from his Caribbean retreat on Necker Island during last week’s announcement. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Bombardier Aerospace received a major boost for its sagging CRJ regional jet program on Thursday, when Delta Air Lines placed a firm order for 40 dual-class CRJ900s and reserved options on another 30.
Pinnacle Airlines has resumed talks with its employee groups over contract concessions, following a recalculation of the cost savings it says it needs to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to Pinnacle, it now needs to shed $76 million to return to viability due in large part to Delta Air Lines’ plans to shed more than 200 fifty-seat regional jets from the Delta Connection system. It originally asked for $43 million in concessions.
The FAA has proposed a $400,000 civil penalty against Atlantic Southeast Airlines–now operating as Expressjet–for operating a Bombardier regional jet in revenue flight without a properly completed maintenance release. The agency says the airline conducted 49 trips between July 7 and July 15 without an authorized signature on either the maintenance release or the aircraft’s discrepancy log. Atlantic Southeast has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.
Thomas Hendricks started his first day as the new president and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) today. In July, the veteran pilot was selected to succeed James Coyne, who announced earlier this year that at the end of December he would be stepping down from the post he has held since 1994.
Cincinnati-based Comair will close its doors at the end September, and nearly 2,000 people will lose their jobs as a result. Granted, the reasons for the airline’s demise might not matter much to them, but perhaps an examination of the forces that led to Delta’s decision to shutter its subsidiary will prepare others for a similar fate.