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.
After months of heated debate over future regional jet jobs at US Airways, the pilots of wholly owned subsidiaries Piedmont and Allegheny Airlines ratified new concessionary labor agreements with their bankrupt employers, bringing the Arlington, Va.-based airline a step closer to meeting the conditions of a $900 million federal loan guarantee.
US Airways’ campaign to reverse its course toward financial ruin began exactly where new CEO David Siegel promised last month, as the company confirmed its intention to proceed with a series of initiatives aimed at developing its competitive position in the regional airline segment. Perhaps most significantly, it confirmed its plans to reactivate the operations of its idle Potomac Air subsidiary under the name MidAtlantic Airways.
Wholly owned US Airways subsidiary PSA Airlines expects to begin its transition to an all-regional-jet fleet with the launch of service next month using new 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200s. The Canadian-built jets will replace 32-seat Fairchild Dornier 328 turboprops on flights linking PSA’s Dayton, Ohio base with Ronald Reagan Washington National and New York La Guardia Airports.
A U.S. bankruptcy court has approved a new financing deal between US Airways and Embraer, Bombardier and DVB Bank to allow the airline to start taking regional jet deliveries for the first time since it filed for Chapter 11 protection in September last year.
US Airways has named Keith Houk as the president and CEO of the combined Allegheny/Piedmont airlines following the retirement of Piedmont president and CEO John Leonard on March 31. The appointment brings Houk to Piedmont’s Salisbury, Md.
PSA Airlines took delivery last month of the first of 25 seventy-seat Bombardier CRJ700s ordered from Bombardier Aerospace, marking the start of the second phase of a fleet restructuring that will see the retirement of the Dayton, Ohio-based airline’s Dornier 328 turboprops.
GE Capital Aviation Services has amplified threats to withdraw its regional jet financing deals with US Airways if pilots do not accept a revised letter of agreement (LOA 91) to loosen restrictions on RJ placement outside the airline’s wholly owned subsidiaries.
Long a concern for regional airlines and the world’s two largest regional jet makers, a growing pessimism about the future of not only US Airways but also Delta and United Airlines carries implications for virtually the entire industry. Last month’s bankruptcy filing by US Airways only intensified the anxiety gnawing at all of the airline’s regional code-share partners.
Bombardier has agreed to extend the delivery schedule of US Airways’ regional jets by a year and convert an order for twenty-three 50-seat CRJ200s to positions on 70-seat CRJ700s, now scheduled to enter service with wholly owned subsidiary PSA Airlines through March 2006.
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