There’s no denying that Bombardier’s commercial aircraft business has reached a crossroads, and that a still ailing airline industry will dictate the direction it ultimately turns.
Delta Air Lines looked to become the latest U.S. carrier to stretch its scope-clause limits when Air Line Pilots Association leadership agreed to allow regional jets certified to carry between 71 and 76 seats to fly under the Delta Connection brand starting next year.
A 63-percent affirmative vote last month by the pilots of Northwest Airlines for a new labor deal officially frees Northwest (operating as Compass Airlines) to fly regional jets certified to hold up to 76 seats. Northwest plans to launch the operation next month with a single 50-seat CRJ200 flying twice daily between Minneapolis and Washington Dulles International Airport.
This month will mark the end of Kawasaki Aeronautica do Brasil’s wing production in Gaviao Peixoto, Brazil, as the company transfers work packages for the metallic airfoil sections for the 190 and 195 airliners to Embraer as outlined in a letter of agreement signed by the parties in late May.
A full 10 months after winning certification by Brazilian authorities and eight months after starting service with JetBlue in the U.S., the Embraer E190 on June 30 received its type approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), clearing the way for entry into service with Finnair and Air France subsidiary Régional.
Brazil’s Embraer has passed another critical milestone in its meteoric development with Brazilian and EASA certification of the largest of its four-member series of E-Jets, the 108- to 118-seat E195. Virtually identical to the smaller E190 except for the addition of a 7 foot, 11 inch-long fuselage plug and related systems modifications, the pair of E195 prototypes needed to fly for just 475 hours to satisfy testing requirements.
The Farnborough International airshow appears to have rediscovered its vim and vigor, refreshed by a new format and site facilities. As this year’s show drew to a close, indications were that the event had drawn record attendance on its trade and public days.
In the little more than five years since its formation, Air France domestic partner Régional has evolved from three distinct, ailing French domestic carriers into a single, profitable regional operation and the second biggest French airline after the country’s flag carrier. Last September Régional announced plans to acquire six Embraer E190LR jets and place options on six more, making it the aircraft’s first operator in Europe.
Republic Airways late last month exercised purchase options on 30 Embraer E175s, bringing the total number of E-Jets ordered by the Indianapolis-based regional airline to 78. Republic, which took the options from US Airways, will fly the airplanes in an 86-seat cabin layout in US Airways Express livery starting next year. The parties expect deliveries to continue through 2008.