Circumstances have certainly done few favors for the 2005 ERA General Assembly’s hometown airline. From its first day of operation, Gothenburg-based City Airline seemed marked for failure. It flew its first revenue service four years ago, on Sept. 10, 2001, the day before the U.S. terrorist attacks that accelerated the global economic recession already under way.
European Regions Airline Association
UK executive charter firm Bookajet is rebranding its operation under the name Club328 to emphasize its new fleet of AvCraft Dornier 328Jets and Envoy 3s. Last month, the Southampton-based company took delivery of the first of the eight aircraft it has ordered. All will feature a Club328 logo.
A complete change of approach to its business and, not least, punctual performance have helped Binter Canarias become the European Regions Airline Association airline of the year for the third time.
Swiss International Air Lines will once again segregate its regional operations under the auspices of a new subsidiary, the company announced last month. Named Swiss European Air Lines, the wholly owned operating unit will take possession of Swiss’ remaining Embraer ERJ 145 and Avro RJ85/100 fleet before year-end.
Never a hotbed of activity for the West’s two regional jet makers, the Middle East market for RJs has long seemed as barren as the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter. But like the oil riches that lie beneath the desert sands, the need for smaller, more efficient airplanes has finally surfaced with a little coaxing, as Embraer proved in late April.
Avions de Transport Regional landed firm orders for 20 new airplanes from four customers at last month’s Paris Air Show. Finnish regional airline Finncomm signed for eight 48-seat ATR 42-500s, Corsica’s CCM for six ATR 72-500s, New Caledonia’s Air Caledonie for a still undefined mix of three ATR 42-500s and ATR 72-500s, and Air Madagascar for two ATR 72-500s and a single ATR 42-500.
Ireland’s Aer Arann has agreed to take delivery of 10 new 72-seat ATR 72-500s from the Franco-Italian turboprop builder over the next three years. Announced last month in Dublin in the presence of Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, the $180 million deal represents the single largest aircraft investment by a private Irish passenger airline and ranks as the third largest in Ireland’s history.
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.
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.