Brazil’s Embraer again revealed its flair for the dramatic during last month’s Regional Airline Association convention, when it flew the first Embraer 170 prototype from its flight test site in São José dos Campos to the company’s new heavy maintenance facility at Nashville International Airport. The 70-seat jet, now scheduled for certification during next year’s first quarter, has completed more than 100 flight test hours.
Frontier Airlines’ new regional subsidiary, Lynx Aviation, will not start service as scheduled on October 1 due to its failure to meet minimum FAA airworthiness standards.
An extended period of order taking for the world’s makers of regional airliners showed little sign of relenting last month, as Canada’s Bombardier grabbed at least two more major orders for CRJ regional jets while Brazil’s Embraer and the Franco-Italian ATR partnership counted the proceeds from a busy Paris Air Show.
Frontier Airlines expects to take delivery of its first Bombardier Q400 this month and launch service aboard the 74-seat turboprop with its new Lynx Aviation subsidiary on September 5. Early last month the company waited for a waiver approval from the DOT to begin “advertising, accepting payments and selling” tickets on June 14 for its first four markets, all of which it plans to serve from Denver.
Could Embraer have become the first voice in aviation to commit to the notion that passengers aren’t necessarily all enthralled with the “no frills” concept of air travel and that they may be prepared to pay a little bit extra to feel less like self-loading cargo?
Mesa Air Group’s latest code-share partner, Kona, Hawaii-based Mokulele Airlines, flew its first scheduled flight as go!Express last month with a new nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravan. On April 16 Mokulele began flying 12 times a day between Kona and Kahului, Kahului and Kapalua, and Kapalua and Honolulu for Mesa’s go! unit, which continues to serve five Hawaiian destinations with Bombardier CRJ200s.
Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Shuttle America will sever all ties with US Airways effective October 2, leaving four more destinations without scheduled service from Pittsburgh International Airport. Last month Shuttle America ended all service between Fort Wayne and Pittsburgh, and between Bedford, Mass., and Trenton, N.J.
GE Capital Aviation Services last month secured $220.8 million in financing from Brazil’s BNDES development bank for 10 Embraer 170s destined for US Airways, LOT Polish Airways and Alitalia. The deal came after BNDES president Carlos Lessa told Embraer last year to start seeking other sources of financing for this year’s airplane deliveries. Embraer blamed financing delays for last year’s disappointing financial performance.
Brazil’s Embraer delivered its first batch of newly certified Embraer 170s to three customers last month, just as the company prepared to score a major U.S. sale for the 70- to 78-seat twinjet. Indianapolis-based Republic Airlines–the sister company of Embraer devotee Chautauqua Airlines–will become the second U.S.
United Airlines availed itself of more options to its imperiled code-share partnership with Atlantic Coast Airlines last month, when it recruited Indianapolis-based Chautauqua and Republic Airlines and Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Shuttle America to fly as United Express out of Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare Airports.