Embraer president and CEO Mauricio Botelho reflected on the events of September 11 and their subsequent effect on the world’s aerospace industry with a quote from Argentine-born Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. “We must be tough without losing tenderness,” said Botelho during a lavish dinner affair the evening before the October 29 rollout of the newly branded 70-seat Embraer 170 regional jet.
American Airlines’ absorption of TWA took a major step forward when the Dallas-based American signed a pair of new code-share agreements with TWExpress partners Trans States and Chautauqua Airlines. As part of the multi-year agreements, Indianapolis-based Chautauqua and St.
Despite United Airlines’ apparent decision to abandon its attempt to buy US Airways for $4.3 billion, the airlines agreed to submit to the Justice Department a merger proposal for full review in compliance with a 21-day review period requirement, prompting applause from DC Air CEO Robert Johnson, who pledged to locate his airline’s headquarters in Washington if the merger survives Justice Department scrutiny.
Airline executives whose predictions of regional divestitures raised eyebrows just two years ago watched their prophesies turn to hard reality in late February, as Northwest Airlines announced its intention to spin off its Memphis-based Express Airlines I subsidiary and Continental Airlines revisited its plans to divest itself from Continental Express.
American Airlines has responded to a contractual limit on ASM growth at its regional affiliates with a plan to strip the AA* code from certain St. Louis-based flights operated by American Connection partners Chautauqua, Trans States and Corporate Airlines. American claims the move will give it another six to nine months to decide the fate of its San Juan, Puerto Rico-based Executive Airlines subsidiary.
Milwaukee-based Midwest Express has informed Brazil’s Embraer that it wants to delay delivery of its Skyway subsidiary’s first ERJ-140 regional jets until January 2004, roughly a year later than originally planned. Midwest Express attributed its decision to the generally weak condition of the airline industry and its desire to concentrate on the introduction of new Boeing 717s into its mainline fleet.
Less than nine months into a pro-rate code-share contract with Frontier Airlines that called for the introduction of seven Bombardier CRJs into the Frontier system by year-end, Mesa Air Group has begun to curtail its relationship with the Denver-based low-fare carrier as a lingering environment of razor-thin yields has resulted in “less than satisfactory” returns for Mesa, according to a company official.
Even though regional airline traffic is up 13 percent from the second quarter of last year, and regional airliners account for 34 percent of the overall domestic fleet, the industry cannot continue to pay for security expenses.
Chautauqua Airlines on November 1 became the fifth regional airline to fly as Delta Connection, when a new 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 took off from Columbus, Ohio, on its first scheduled flight to Orlando, Fla. On the same day Chautauqua began service between Columbus and Tampa, one of three daily round trips between the Delta system’s new city pair.
Embraer had to scrap plans to bring one of its new 70-seat regional jets to display at the ERA assembly in a bid to catch up on slight technical delays in its certification program. This process is now expected to be complete about three months later than planned, with launch customer Swiss due to receive its first Embraer 170 next August.