The regional airlines became an economic safety net of sorts after September 11, when the majors quickly realized they could not survive flying large airplanes nearly empty. The options–cut flights and market presence entirely or replace mainline jets with smaller aircraft–presented airlines with a clear course of action. Code-sharing regional airliners quickly delivered cost-effective solutions.
Mesa Air Group
Never one to shy away from controversy, Mesa Air Group chairman and CEO Jonathan Ornstein has announced that his airline will begin training its pilots to carry taser weapons in the cockpit. A Mesa spokesperson said the airline expected to complete training and FAA coordination for the plan within three months. Mesa on October 17 began placing private security personnel on its airplanes based in Albuquerque, N.M.
Bombardier recently opened its Tucson, Ariz. Part 145 repair station for CRJ and Q-series aircraft. Bombardier Regional Aircraft Services Tucson is modeled after Bombardier’s other heavy-maintenance facility, the West Virginia Air Center (WVAC) in Bridgeport, W. Va. The 131,000-sq-ft facility, designed to support U.S.-based regional airline operators, can handle as many as 10 regional aircraft at a time.
The Harbin-Embraer Aircraft joint manufacturing venture on September 28 delivered the first of 100 airplanes to its biggest Chinese customer, Hainan Airlines Group (HNA) subsidiary Grand China Express.
Air Canada has converted to firm status a former tentative commitment for 15 new Bombardier CRJ700 Series 705s and 15 CRJ200s. The airline plans to start taking deliveries of CRJ200s this year, followed by the CRJ705s next year, the exact dates depending on the timing of its emergence from bankruptcy. The airline also holds a conditional order for 15 CRJ200s and options on another 45 airplanes.
Mesa Air Group founder Larry Risley, 59, died of colorectal cancer on September 22 in Austin, Texas. A native of Abilene, Texas, Risley founded the airline in 1982 from the assets of a single-airplane charter service he started two years earlier. By the time he retired in 1998, Inc.
Hawaiian Airlines claims Mesa Air Group CFO Peter Murnane destroyed evidence that supports its contention that the Phoenix-based carrier used confidential information about Hawaiian to launch its go! subsidiary last year. In a briefing filed in U.S.
Roger Woolsey, president and CEO of Houston-based Million Air (Booth No. 4601), gave an update on the company’s development plans here at NBAA’07, which include the expansion and rebranding of Westair, the family-owned FBO that has served Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., for more than 50 years.
Mesa Air Group expected three of its Bombardier CRJ200s to enter service with the newly christened KunPeng Airlines by the end of this month. All three airplanes came from Mesa’s U.S. fleet, from which it continues gradually to shed 50-seat jets and de Havilland Dash 8 turboprops in favor of 70- and 86-seat RJs.
Each year the Bush Administration tries to slash funding for the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, and each year it fails, thanks in no small part to advocates for small community air service such as the Regional Airline Association.