Irish regional airline Aer Arann underscored its willingness to challenge air transport convention over the summer when it opened the first direct air link between Belfast and Dublin in eight years. But a little more than two months later, economic pragmatism trumped any political or symbolic value the new route might have carried, when CEO Padraig O’Ceidigh ended the experiment almost as abruptly as it began.
European Regions Airline Association
Major structural changes announced by Swiss International Airlines in June include a considerable reduction of the company’s regional network with the start of its winter timetable, in late October. But while Swiss frantically clutches for a financial lifeline, there appears no shortage of newcomers willing to fill the airline’s shoes.
Two years on from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Europe’s regional airlines are still struggling to recover from some of the toughest business conditions they’ve ever seen. But the European Commission (EC) keeps kicking them while they’re down, according to Mike Ambrose, director general of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).
Brazil’s Embraer said it will lay off 1,800 workers, reduce deliveries this year from 185 to 160 and lower its forecast delivery rate from 205 to 135 next year as part of a plan to stem losses expected to result from September 11. Although the company said all firm orders remain in effect, it expects a number of customers to defer option conversions until the global economic outlook improves.
ERA named German operator Eurowings regional airline of the year at last month’s general assembly, 12 months after the German regional airline placed second in the competition. Eurowings attributes its success to its fleet mix and route network; an appropriate alliance policy with German flag carrier Lufthansa, which has an option to increase its 25-percent stake in the regional to 49 percent; and an attractive “customer product.”
Operator attendance at the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) annual assembly in Athens last month was down about a third, as carriers reassessed fleet strategies under their “worst-ever trading conditions” following the U.S. terrorism attacks and an earlier economic downturn.
Aegean Airlines, host carrier at this month’s European Regions Airline Association (ERA) general assembly in Athens, has an eye on opportunities in Eastern European and Middle East markets, according to Aegean COO Antonis Simigdalas, who is also president of ERA. He told AIN that the airline is “geared for such developments, through its fleet plans, traffic-rights applications and economic stability and planning.”
Technical difficulties continued to dog regional airplanes built by a financially resurgent Bombardier last month, as no fewer than 85 Q400 turboprops sat idle while operators performed emergency inspections on their main landing gear.
Delegates from Europe’s regional airlines are “delighted” to be returning to the Greek capital Athens this month for their annual general assembly because of the city’s great success as a previous venue, according to Mike Ambrose, director-general of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).
Delegates from Europe’s regional airlines are “delighted” to be returning to the Greek capital Athens for their annual general assembly (October 17-19) because of the city’s great success as a previous venue, according to Mike Ambrose, director-general of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).