There’s no denying that Bombardier’s commercial aircraft business has reached a crossroads, and that a still ailing airline industry will dictate the direction it ultimately turns.
While at first it seemed hard to reconcile the rather dark and anxious mood of last year’s RAA Convention in Cincinnati with double-digit profit margins and record revenues, by the end of the three-day event it became clear to everyone what regional airline executives had seen coming for years.
Delta Air Lines looked to become the latest U.S. carrier to stretch its scope-clause limits when Air Line Pilots Association leadership agreed to allow regional jets certified to carry between 71 and 76 seats to fly under the Delta Connection brand starting next year.
A 63-percent affirmative vote last month by the pilots of Northwest Airlines for a new labor deal officially frees Northwest (operating as Compass Airlines) to fly regional jets certified to hold up to 76 seats. Northwest plans to launch the operation next month with a single 50-seat CRJ200 flying twice daily between Minneapolis and Washington Dulles International Airport.
Mesaba Airlines last month filed a new bankruptcy court petition to void its contracts with its pilots, mechanics and flight attendants, only three weeks after Judge Gregory Kishel ruled that the airline did not meet all the conditions needed to unilaterally impose a 19.4-percent cut in payroll costs.
Pinnacle Airlines CEO Phil Trenary told a gathering of journalists at the RAA convention in Dallas in late May that he fully expects his airline to, in his words, “take a beating” once bankrupt major partner Northwest Airlines decides to seek revenue-sharing concessions. “Our time is very near,” said Trenary. “Will we take a beating? Yes. How much of one? We don’t know.”
The judge overseeing the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of Minneapolis-based Mesaba Airlines ruled last month that the airline may not unilaterally cancel the union contracts of its pilots, flight attendants and mechanics. Trumpeted by the unions as a major victory for labor, the 98-page ruling issued by Judge Gregory Kishel in St.
If Northwest Airlines gets its way, regional affiliate Pinnacle Airlines will become one of the first competitors to Southwest and American Airlines at Dallas Love Field. But in an ironic twist, interest in flying from Love on the part of Northwest and JetBlue Airlines could become a barrier to repeal of the law that limits most commercial flights from the airport to a nine-state perimeter.
Irish regional airline CityJet in a little more than a month expects to place into service the first of 23 Avro RJ85s acquired in a $221 million deal to replace its present fleet of 20 BAe 146s. According to CityJet CEO Geoffrey O’Byrne White, the choice boiled down to the airplanes’ shared characteristics with the BAe 146, enhanced performance, better economics and, of course, the Avros’ comparative youth.
A bankruptcy judge on July 14 allowed regional carrier Mesaba Airlines to void the contracts for 1,300 pilots, flight attendants and mechanics. In a last-ditch effort to allow the two sides to negotiate the matter, the judge asked Mesaba to give the unions at least 10 days’ notice before imposing terms on its workers that would cut wages and benefits by 19.4 percent.