Export Development Canada (EDC) has agreed to defer $16.6 million worth of loan payments for the fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprops operated by Pinnacle Airlines subsidiary Colgan Air, a Pinnacle filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed in late January. According to the document, the EDC agreed to defer payments and withhold any “enforcement action” from January 14 through March 31.
All 41 Bombardier CRJ900s and 19 Bombardier CRJ200s flying with Mesaba Airlines as Delta Connection on January 4 moved to the Pinnacle Airlines certificate, marking a “huge milestone” in Memphis-based Pinnacle’s efforts to shed one of its three operating certificates. Although Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
Pinnacle Airlines said in late October that it would close the headquarters of its Eagan, Minn.-based Mesaba Airlines subsidiary toward the end of next year’s first quarter as it moves to reduce the number of its operating certificates from three to two. Pinnacle also owns Manassas, Va.-based Colgan Air.
Colgan Air grounded the pilots who landed a Saab 340B at the wrong Louisiana airport on September 7, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
The regional airline business lost more of its luster last week, when Delta Air Lines announced it would retire its entire Saab 340 turboprop fleet and “adjust” flying in 24 small markets, 16 of which benefit from Essential Air Service subsidies.
Air Canada regional subsidiary Jazz Aviation began operating its first 74-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprop on June 7 on a route linking Toronto Pearson International Airport with Quebec City. On May 26 the airline took delivery of the first of 15 Q400s, all of which will replace 50-seat Bombardier CRJs as the delivery schedule stretches into July 2012. Jazz also holds options on another 15 airplanes.
Former Frontier Airlines boss Sean Menke will succeed Phil Trenary as CEO of Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines, the regional carrier announced in late May. A managing partner at Denver-based Vista Strategic Group, Menke assumes his new duties on July 1. Trenary resigned his position on March 24, leaving interim leadership of the company to chairman of the board Donald Breeding. Menke also becomes a member of the company’s board of directors.
Canada's Flying Colours is talking to potential partners outside North America to support operators for which it has completed Bombardier Challengers. About 90 percent of its clients to date have been on other continents and it has already had preliminary discussions with prospective joint venture partners.
Not everyone agrees with the regional airlines’ assertion that they fly just as safely as their mainline counterparts. With this perception and several specific accidents in mind, the NTSB convened a symposium in late October to shed more light on airline code-sharing arrangements and their role in aviation safety.
The consolidation of the regional airline industry continued unabated last month, as St. George, Utah-based SkyWest revealed plans to acquire Houston-based ExpressJet. The $133 million transaction will involve a direct purchase by SkyWest's Atlanta-based subsidiary, Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), of all of ExpressJet's common shares for $6.75 each in cash.