Northwest Airlines will have to add a third regional partner if it wants more 50-seat jets for its Northwest Airlink division, according to an agreement with its pilots to limit the number of regional jets it leases to Pinnacle and Mesaba Airlines.
Pinnacle Airlines bought Manassas, Va.-based Colgan Air for $20 million last month. The deal gives Memphis-based Pinnacle, which has flown exclusively for Northwest Airlines during its entire existence, immediate access to code-share revenue from Colgan partners Continental Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.
Shareholders of Mesaba Airlines parent MAIR Holdings last month accused Northwest Airlines of a conspiracy to suppress the value of its regional affiliate in preparation for a planned buyout.
A new code-share contract with Northwest Airlines (NWA) will allow Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines to keep its fleet of 124 Bombardier CRJs, potentially fly 76-seat jets and enter code-share deals with other major airlines. Under the 10-year deal, Northwest will also assign Pinnacle another 17 CRJ200s and/or CRJ440s by the end of the year.
Big Sky Airlines will fly eight 19-seat Beech 1900Ds from Boston starting early in the year’s second quarter under a new code-share contract the Billings, Mont.-based regional signed with Delta Air Lines in late December.
Delta Air Lines last month signed a letter of intent with Bombardier to acquire as many as 60 CRJ900s to deploy with its Delta Connection regional affiliates from Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and New York. A firm order, still subject to bankruptcy court approval, would call for 30 of the airplanes in a two-class, 76-seat configuration, and likely accompany an option for another 30 airplanes.
Union leaders expected by the end of last month to tally the votes for or against proposed new labor contracts at Mesaba Airlines, which finally managed to reach tentative agreements with its pilots, flight attendants and mechanics after more than a year of wrangling.
Now that Boeing has settled on a firm design configuration for its 787 Dreamliner, details that until recently looked sketchy have suddenly crystallized just as some of the Middle East’s largest airlines sharpen their focus on fleet additions. From the graceful contours of the cabin to the sleek shape of the airframe, the 787 certainly exudes innovation.
U.S. bankruptcy court judge Gregory Kishel again gave Mesaba Airlines permission to impose contract terms on its pilots, flight attendants and mechanics after an appeals court judge overturned Kishel’s first ruling to allow management to force concessions. Days later, Kishel agreed to enforce an injunction sought by Mesaba that effectively bars the employees from striking.
Northwest Airlines last month split an order for 72 regional jets between Embraer and Bombardier. The contracts, still subject to approval by a U.S. bankruptcy court, call for delivery of 36 E175s and 36 CRJ900s, both of which would arrive in dual-class, 76-seat configuration. Northwest plans to award the Embraer jets to its new Compass Airlines subsidiary.