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.
Northwest Airlines won approval from the DOT in late September to launch Compass Airlines, a new wholly owned regional subsidiary to which Northwest plans to assign at least 36 Embraer E175s. Northwest bought the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the operation from the defunct Independence Air and wants to use it to launch service with a single CRJ200 between Minneapolis and Washington Dulles Airport.
Five years as an association president might seem like a modest stint to some, but Debby McElroy has seen enough in her tenure at the RAA to last a lifetime.
Embraer and Bombardier each collected significant orders late last month for their respective regional jets, the Brazilian manufacturer from Saudi Arabian Airlines for 15 dual-class Embraer 170s and the Canadian airframe maker from Northwest Airlines for 15 fifty-seat CRJ200s. Embraer’s sale marked its first from the Middle East, a potentially lucrative market where regional networks remain largely undeveloped.
Twilight has fallen unceremoniously on the heyday of the 50-seat regional jet, and Bombardier’s October 28 announcement that it would suspend production of the CRJ200 only underscored that fact. Of course, the recent bankruptcies of Northwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Independence Air haven’t helped, but signs of a meltdown came long before any CRJ operators stopped deliveries or started grounding airplanes.
Mesaba Aviation won a motion it filed last month against its fellow Chapter 11 petitioner and mainline partner Northwest Airlines for withholding more service contract payments. Mesaba, which subleases its Avro RJs and part of its Saab 340 fleet from Northwest, claimed that Northwest withheld $5.2 million in retaliation for the regional airline’s suspension of lease payments–a practice allowed under U.S.
The giant sucking sound generated by the bankruptcies of two of the largest airlines in the U.S. echoed last month through the financial community and across the air transport industry, including the regional airline sector. Among Delta’s various partners, wholly owned Comair stands to feel the most profound repercussions because it now too operates under Chapter 11 protection.
Mesaba Airlines became the latest casualty of Northwest Airlines’ financial meltdown last month, when it followed its sole mainline code-share partner into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The move followed weeks of speculation about the effects of Northwest’s failure to pay its Airlink partners millions of dollars in flying fees and subsequent plans to remove as much as half of the seating capacity from Mesaba’s fleet.