Last month’s decision by United Airlines to cut loose Air Wisconsin Airline Corp. (AWAC) from its stable of regional affiliates might not have come as a surprise to Geoff Crowley and company, but the drawn-out divorce will no doubt leave a wound that might take more than the comfort of a new partner to fully heal.
Industry developments have conspired to depress the 50-seat jet market to its weakest position since the late 1990s. Backlogs have shrunk to their lowest levels in years, and the latest deal struck by Independence Air to return another 24 CRJs to their lessors hasn’t helped matters.
Five years as an association president might seem like a modest stint to some, but Debby McElroy has seen enough in her tenure at the RAA to last a lifetime.
Indianapolis-based Chautauqua Airlines has transferred the last of its once 23-strong fleet of Embraer 170 jets to its sister carrier, Shuttle America. The move relieves parent company Republic Airways of penalties it has had to pay American Airlines for scope-clause violations. The contract signed by American and its pilots prohibits any American Connection carrier from flying jets that hold more than 50 seats for any partner.
Noted New York attorney Michael Haber has filed a $400 million class-action lawsuit on behalf of 230 MidAtlantic Airways pilots against ALPA, US Airways, America West, Republic Airways and Republic’s owner, Wexford Capital.
Delta Air Lines sent another clear message to its wholly owned affiliates that it won’t hesitate to outsource more regional jet flying to independent partners when it signed Mesa Air Group as the latest Delta Connection carrier last month. The 12-year deal gives Mesa’s Freedom Airlines subsidiary the right to fly up to 30 fifty-seat Bombardier CRJ200s for Delta, the first of which it expects to put into service in October.
Now that US Airways and America West Airlines have officially announced their intention to merge, the question of what will happen with the various regional airlines that fly under those airlines’ codes seems a logical one. But to answer it requires insight into any changes in store for the two majors’ own route structures, details of which remain sketchy.
Frontier Airlines has chosen to establish its own regional subsidiary to fly Bombardier Q400s last month rather than recruit its regional code-share partner and the only other airline to fly the type in the continental U.S., Seattle-based Horizon Air. The
The 78- to 88-seat Embraer E175 earned its FAA certification last month, paving the way for deliveries to start in the U.S. Indianapolis-based Republic Airlines, still the only U.S. customer for the stretched-by-two-rows variant of the Embraer E170, plans to start accepting its order for 30 of the airplanes in an 86-seat configuration next year.
Republic Airways last month offered another 7.75 million shares of common stock to help fund a fleet expansion that will see it field 28 Embraer 170s for US Airways and another five for United Airlines. Republic Airways operating unit Republic Airlines, formed last year to fly the 70-seat jets for United, to earn its operating certificate imminently.