Last month’s rush to speculation over the effects of United Airlines’ decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection had just spread to include conjecture about its regional affiliates when Atlantic Coast Airlines released an illuminating statement on the status of its code-share relationship with the world’s second-largest carrier.
Houston-based ExpressJet joins some pretty rarefied company this month when it begins flying 44 Embraer ERJ 145s under its own colors in a point-to-point “spider web” network of 24 cities ranging from Monterey, Calif., to Raleigh-Durham, N.C. The new operation marks the second attempt in the last few years by a regional airline to set out on its own after failing to reach terms on code-share contract concessions with its mainline parent.
Independence Air (FLYi) and Airbus have agreed to change the terms of a contract for 16 Airbus A319s to allow the troubled low-fare regional to delay deliveries of 10 airplanes by two years. Under the revised deal, Independence may also swap half the airplanes for leased jets bought by lessors and scheduled for delivery next year.
Independence Air and parent company FLYi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, ending a year-and-a-half-long wait for what many considered an inevitable financial collapse. A big money loser since it broke ties with former code-share partner United Airlines, the former Atlantic Coast Airlines said it would seek approval to sell itself in a court auction.
The experiment in discount-fare, 50-seat RJ flying known as Independence Air (formerly Atlantic Coast Airlines) ended once and for all when the company transported its last passenger on January 5, a year and a half after it severed ties with former mainline partner United Airlines.
Northwest Airlines’ plans for a new regional subsidiary all hinge upon a May 3 tally of votes cast by its pilots on a new tentative contract that would allow the unit, called Compass Airlines, to fly regional jets certified to hold up to 76 seats. Northwest hopes to launch the operation next month with a single 50-seat CRJ200 flying twice daily between Minneapolis and Washington Dulles International Airport.