Unable to convince the Air Line Pilots Association to accept further regional-airline scope-clause concessions, US Airways has converted its firm order for 25 Bombardier CRJ705s to positions for 70-seat CRJ700s and assigned the airplanes to Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group.
Chinese regional carrier Kun Peng Airlines has placed an order for five Embraer 190s in a deal that further sets the foothold the Brazilian manufacturer has gained in mainland China.
For years major airline executives have recognized their regional affiliates’ potential to take a more active role in serving markets that until recently occupied the exclusive domain of mainline operations. But limited labor resources and influential pilot unions curbed efforts to penetrate the artificial barrier between mainline and regional flying.
While the traffic slump that beset the U.S. airline industry as a result of September 11 certainly manifested itself in fourth-quarter financial results across sector lines, an ability to adapt quickly to changing market conditions mitigated the damage to the regional airline business, which showed remarkable resilience in the face of potentially devastating losses.
Delta Air Lines notified Pinnacle Airlines last month that it intends to dissolve their Delta Connection contract effective July 31. Delta cited Memphis-based Pinnacle’s failure to meet contractually guaranteed on-time performance rates for its decision. In late May a federal judge blocked Delta’s attempts to end its contract with Mesa Air Group’s Freedom Airlines subsidiary for the same stated reason.
The NTSB cited three accidents and an incident involving regional airlines as the basis for a pair of recommendations to the FAA related to pilot fatigue last month. The Board called on the FAA to develop guidance for operators to establish “fatigue management systems” and methodology to assess their effectiveness, including their ability to improve sleep and alertness, mitigate performance errors and prevent incidents and accidents.
The NTSB cited three accidents and an incident involving a regional airline as the basis for a pair of recommendations issued Tuesday to the FAA related to pilot fatigue.
Bombardier CL-600-2B19 CRJ, Hilo, Hawaii, Feb. 13, 2008–The Mesa Airlines Go! flight from Honolulu to Hilo overflew its destination airport, Hilo International/General Lyman Field, in cruise. When the airplane was at 21,000 feet the controller tried unsuccessfully several times in 25 minutes to contact the crew, not reaching them until they were 15 miles beyond the airport.
The DOT has awarded Hawaii’s Island Air the rights to fly three EAS routes from Kansas City International Airport now served by Mesa Air Group subsidiary Air Midwest. The Mesa-owned Beech 1900 operator filed a 90-day notice to withdraw from Joplin, Mo.; Grand Island, Neb.; and Harrison, Ark., on January 22, but EAS rules require it to stay until a replacement airline begins service.
Mesa Air Group has dropped its appeal of an $80 million award issued to Hawaiian Airlines and agreed to pay a $52.5 million settlement for using confidential information it obtained during Hawaiian’s 2004 bankruptcy proceedings to launch inter-island subsidiary Go! Last October the bankruptcy court ordered Mesa to pay Hawaiian post-judgment interest and its cost of litigation and lawyer fees.