Following the recent worldwide financial crisis and recession, regional airline services in Europe are set to change as operators move to introduce bigger equipment. Air Nostrum chief executive Carlos Bertomeu, for one, predicts that his carrier’s recent strategy to increase average capacity–and thereby reduce unit costs–will be copied elsewhere in the industry.
Korean Air Lines is considering expanding its service on existing routes to China and Japan with 70- to 120-seat regional jets in two years. “We may inject the planes into routes operated by our budget carrier unit Jin Air as well,” said KAL chairman Cho Yang-Ho. KAL does not currently operate any regional jets; its smallest aircraft are 737-800s operated by its low-cost Jin Air division.
Novato, Calif.-based Willis Lease Finance, a leading lessor of commercial jet engines, last month signaled its intention to enter the regional jet leasing business by signing an MOU with Superjet International covering the purchase of six Sukhoi Superjet 100s and options for four more.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) could enter the regional turboprop segment as early as next year, if it proceeds with the launch of a 90-seat aircraft it is currently evaluating. The company had rejected the idea of a regional jet due to the crowded market already existing with segment leaders Embraer and Bombardier being joined by new aircraft from Mitsubishi, Sukhoi and AVIC.
Bombardier Aerospace’s sales force will no doubt feel considerable pressure to boost CRJ transactions this month, as the company again considers cutting production of its regional jet line in Mirabel, Canada, in reaction to weak sales.
Some 30 U.S. airports risk losing their last regional airline flights unless they take “critical steps” to better balance revenue, cost and compensation rates, according to a report published earlier this year by San Diego-based aviation consultancy Innovation Analysis Group (IAG).
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft and Cello Aviation are jointly showing a newly converted Avro Business Jet (ABJ) here on the EBACE static display. The aircraft has just been extensively remodeled by BAE’s completions partner Inflite Engineering.
Mitsubishi Aircraft has hired the engineering division of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft to provide design integration and certification services for the development of its new MRJ regional jet. The program will focus on the integration of the aircraft’s propulsion system, specifically on the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engine and its pylons, nacelles, auxiliary power units and fuel systems.
Brazil’s Embraer has given itself until the middle of this year to reach an agreement with its Chinese partners on adapting its assembly line in Harbin to produce 70- to 110-seat E-Jets.