The General Assembly of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) took place in Salzburg last week with a mixed picture of how airlines are managing, particularly with continued pressure from low-cost-carrier growth and regulatory burdens. In the ERA’s view, Europe has a major problem with central politicians who seem unable to understand the value of regional aviation that local politicians in its many outer regions have little problem appreciating.
European Regions Airline Association
Increasing competition and pressure on costs has led to some deep restructuring of European airlines, with an attendant move to higher-capacity aircraft and absorption of many regional carriers into national carriers.
The pilots of Irish regional carrier Aer Arann voted last month by a 91-percent margin to initiate a pair of two-day strikes starting August 20. Plans called for the strikes to affect Aer Arann-coded flights and regional flights it operates on behalf of Aer Lingus.
The UK’s BMI Regional signed a deal last month to supply an Embraer ERJ145–along with pilots, cabin crew and support–to Swedish regional airline Flyglinjen. Flyglinjen plans to replace a Fokker 50 turboprop on a route between Kristianstad, Sweden and Stockholm Arlanda Airport. The contract’s term extends 10 months, starting from August 12, using the Flyglinjen brand. Plans call for the airplane to operate under BMI Regional’s certificate using BMI Regional flight and maintenance crews, while Flyglinjen provides sales and ground services.
Five Bombardier Dash 8-100 regional turboprops at Norway’s Widerøe’s Flyveselskap had undergone 80,000-flight cycle (FC) inspections by last month as part of an extended-service program (ESP) approved by Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2009. Of the 299 Dash 8-100s built, some 100 constitute the near-term market for the life-extension modifications, according to the manufacturer. Bombardier expects a further 128 will reach the 80,000-cycle threshold during the coming nine years.
A new firm order for seven E190 airliners from Venezuela’s Conviasa led Embraer’s commercial activity here yesterday. The deal involved a conversion of options from an order placed in July 2012 and raised Conviasa’s firm order count to 13 E190s. It still holds options for another seven.
Embraer also identified Japan Airlines as the customer for an order for four more E170s. With that deal, JAL has now placed firm orders for 15 E170s.
Embraer Executive Jets named Brenda Paauwe-Navori as the Western region regional sales director for its large and ultra-large business jet division. She previously managed sales for a business aircraft manufacturer and a fractional ownership firm. Paauwe-Navori has experience in market strategy and prospecting, financial analysis and customer loyalty, Embraer said. She has also been employed in airline charter work, including a stint as senior director of large-cabin sales and operator relations for Virgin Charter and VIP Inflight Liaison at Northwest Airlines.
Aer Lingus Regional franchisee Aer Arann last month took delivery of the first of eight new ATR 72-600 turboprops it has ordered as part of a contract worth some $187 million. ATR has promised to deliver the final seven airplanes over the next 11 months, as Aer Arann removes from service its aging ATR 72-200s and 42-300s. The airline plans to keep its three ATR 72-500s.
Struggling Scandinavian flag carrier SAS has signed an agreement to sell its regional subsidiary Widerøe as part of an ongoing restructuring program to achieve financial stability. SAS will sell 80 percent of Widerøe to Norwegian companies Torghatten ASA, Fjord1 AS and Nordland Fylkeskommune. The sales will include seven Bombardier Q400 turboprops that SAS currently leases to the regional carrier. The transaction must be approved by Norwegian authorities, and is expected to close in September.
Irish carrier Aer Arann took delivery of its first ATR 72-600 aircraft last Friday. The May 3 delivery marked the first of eight of the new -600 model that the airline has ordered to replace its existing fleet of ATR72-200s and smaller ATR42-300s.