A new code-share contract with Northwest Airlines (NWA) will allow Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines to keep its fleet of 124 Bombardier CRJs, potentially fly 76-seat jets and enter code-share deals with other major airlines. Under the 10-year deal, Northwest will also assign Pinnacle another 17 CRJ200s and/or CRJ440s by the end of the year.
Delta Air Lines last month signed a letter of intent with Bombardier to acquire as many as 60 CRJ900s to deploy with its Delta Connection regional affiliates from Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and New York. A firm order, still subject to bankruptcy court approval, would call for 30 of the airplanes in a two-class, 76-seat configuration, and likely accompany an option for another 30 airplanes.
The labor crisis at Comair appeared headed for a climax late last month as the Cincinnati-based airline’s management and pilot representatives prepared to meet for a last-ditch effort to reach a deal.
Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) pilots on December 15 picketed the company’s newest flight crew base, at Los Angeles International Airport, to protest the lack of progress in their contract talks with management.
Houston-based ExpressJet Airlines yesterday disclosed that it had established an executive jet charter division.
Houston-based regional airline ExpressJet announced here at NBAA’06 that it planned to open a new division to fly corporate charter services using 10 Embraer ERJ 145XRs scheduled for removal from its Continental Express feeder network. Plans call for the new unit, called ExpressJet Corporate Aviation, to start operations in December and absorb all 10 ERJ 145s by next May.
Comair’s Cincinnati maintenance and repair facilities received FAA approval to perform third-party heavy maintenance on other airlines’ 50- and 70-seat Bombardier CRJs, making it one of nine Part 145 CRJ repair stations in the U.S. and potentially softening the blow of a major cut in Delta Connection flying.
Northwest Airlines last month split an order for 72 regional jets between Embraer and Bombardier. The contracts, still subject to approval by a U.S. bankruptcy court, call for delivery of 36 E175s and 36 CRJ900s, both of which would arrive in dual-class, 76-seat configuration. Northwest plans to award the Embraer jets to its new Compass Airlines subsidiary.
Northwest Airlines won approval from the DOT in late September to launch Compass Airlines, a new wholly owned regional subsidiary to which Northwest plans to assign at least 36 Embraer E175s. Northwest bought the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the operation from the defunct Independence Air and wants to use it to launch service with a single CRJ200 between Minneapolis and Washington Dulles Airport.
Industry developments have conspired to depress the 50-seat jet market to its weakest position since the late 1990s. Backlogs have shrunk to their lowest levels in years, and the latest deal struck by Independence Air to return another 24 CRJs to their lessors hasn’t helped matters.