Atlantic Coast Airlines last month petitioned a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge to force United Airlines to reveal its plans for the continuation of the ACA’s United Express contract by February 28. Operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy since December 9, United could reject or maintain the terms of the current agreement.
Mesa Air Group
Federal bankruptcy court judge Stephen Mitchell has approved US Airways’ plan to enter into a new operating agreement with Indianapolis-based Republic Airways that calls for the introduction of another 32 regional jets into the US Airways Express system.
The so-called “Jets for Jobs” program agreed upon by US Airways as part of the labor contract ratified by its ALPA-represented pilots over the summer has produced neither jobs nor jets for anyone so far.
Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group has asked its employees to accept a voluntary 5-percent pay cut for one year in return for an incentive program tied to quarterly profits. The appeal coincided with 20-percent salary reductions for chairman and CEO Jonathan Ornstein, president Mike Lotz and executive vice president Peter Murnane. According to SEC filings, the three top executives’ base pay equals $200,000, $175,000 and $150,000, respectively.
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.
Chinese aerospace conglomerate AVIC I unveiled the new ARJ21-700 regional jet during a rollout ceremony in Shanghai today for a select group of official guests and government-approved media. Officials used the occasion to reveal a new Chinese name for the 90-seat airplane–Xiang Feng, or Flying Phoenix–and announce a 100-unit commitment from Kunpeng Airlines. China’s Shenzhen Airlines and Mesa Air Group of the U.S.
At face value, the big orders from Air Canada in late September for Bombardier and Embraer jets augur well for the Western hemisphere’s last two regional jet builders. The orders added significantly to the companies’ delivery backlogs. Embraer received a firm order for 45 of its 98-seat 190s and Bombardier logged a contract for 15 CRJ200s and 15 CRJ700 Series 705s.
Mesa Air Group has cut salaries among its senior management by 23 percent; the company will credit the proceeds to US Airways in support of the major airline’s restructuring efforts. Mesa has also asked its US Airways Express employees to voluntarily agree to defer up to 23 percent of their salaries. US Airways has agreed to repay all the deferrals upon its emergence from bankruptcy protection.
It took a while for the message to register, but Bombardier finally heeded the airline market’s counsel in late January and shelved its languishing C Series program. Although it will retain a staff of about 50 for studies on a small mainline jet, the company has begun shifting most of the financial and human resources once dedicated to the C Series to other programs, most notably studies on a new 90- to 100-seat regional jet.
Bombardier last month delivered the first production example of its newest regional jet, the CRJ900, to Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group. Scheduled to fly for the first time under the America West Express livery on April 27 between Phoenix and Los Angeles, the 80-seat jet gives Mesa the largest-capacity aircraft in the U.S. regional airline business.