New airline industry statistics released last month by the office of DOT inspector general Kenneth Mead revealed that regional jets now account for one-quarter of all departures in the U.S. In absolute terms, RJ frequencies increased 140 percent (from 88,474 to 212,126 departures) since December 2000, when the small jets accounted for just 10 percent of all departures.
Chinese investment company D’Long confirmed that the development program for a 70- to 95-seat family of regional airliners acquired from the defunct Fairchild Dornier GmbH has been resurrected by its new subsidiary, Fairchild Dornier Aero Industries. Two FD 728 prototypes are currently being prepared for first flight later this year. JAA certification and start of production are scheduled for 2006.
Delta Air Lines subsidiary Comair took delivery of the 1,000th production regional jet built by Bombardier Aerospace during a December 9 ceremony at the company’s plant in Dorval, Quebec.
Dornier 328JET certificate holder AvCraft Aerospace has recruited BAE Systems Regional Aircraft to take responsibility for spares storage, distribution and logistics support for the 32-seat regional jet and its turboprop sibling. The six-year contract covers 328s and 328JETs registered in North, Central and South America.
Bombardier’s newly constituted board of directors last month gave approval to the company’s commercial airplane division to offer the C Series line of single-aisle jets to potential customers, marking the start of the company’s foray into the major airline market.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has delivered the final Avro RJ to Finnish carrier Blue 1, bringing to an end 22 years of BAe 146/Avro RJ production. An Avro RJ85 that arrived in Helsinki on November 26 was the last of four aircraft ordered by Blue 1. In total, BAE has delivered 390 of the quad-jets. The UK manufacturer will continue to handle customer and product support directly.
Bankrupt regional aircraft manufacturer Avcraft Aerospace has been bought by UK Corporate Jet Services, parent company of Southampton-based executive charter operator Club328. The new owner will not be resuming aircraft production, but will instead run Avcraft as a support organization for existing Dornier 328 jet and turboprop operators under the name 328 Support Services.
Bombardier Aerospace's results improved in FY 2006, primarily the result of a continued strong business jet market. According to financial results released yesterday for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended January 31, the regional aircraft market presented "significant challenges," but the business jet market remained strong with a "45-percent boost in deliveries, reflecting increases in all Bombardier business aircraft models.
In what is being billed as the biggest such deal in airline history, Air Canada has picked Thales as its supplier-of-choice for in-flight entertainment systems across its fleet of 241 airplanes. The Thales IFE system, called TopFlight i-4500, will be fitted in Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and Bombardier models flown by the airline.
Airlines around the world in the market for equipment to serve the emerging 100-seat sector have no fewer than five choices to evaluate here at the Paris Air Show this week. Bombardier with its new C Series and Embraer with the 190/195 family enjoy a high profile, but alternative programs conceived farther east won’t easily let the Western airframers steal the show.