Flight Options, the second-largest fractional aircraft provider, last month named Michael Scheeringa as COO. Formerly v-p of US Airways’ Express division, Scheeringa will be responsible for the overall operations, maintenance, procurement and customer care for Flight Options. He will report directly to Flight Options chairman and CEO John Nahill.
Embraer on February 20 obtained FAA certification and JAA recommendation for its 70- to 78-passenger Model 170 regional twinjet, some 18 months later than originally planned. The delay has been particularly irksome for Embraer 170 launch customers US Airways and Alitalia. The certification includes a Honeywell fly-by-wire system, to which Embraer earlier attributed to program delays.
Northwest Airlines pilots last month voted to allow Northwest Airlink partner Pinnacle Airlines to add more 50-seat regional jets to its fleet and open talks over a new pay scale for 70-seat regional jets at the mainline. Part of a concessionary contract that calls for a 15-percent pay cut among pilots and management, the new deal will allow Pinnacle to convert its remaining orders and options on 44-seat Bombardier CRJs to 50-seat CRJ200s.
Flight Options insists that it’s business as usual despite last month’s unexpected departure of the company’s chairman and CEO, John Nahill.
Battle lines are being drawn as Boeing Business Jets, which saw sales of its BBJ series slow to a trickle over the past couple of years, now faces the serious challenge of an aggressive competitor in a reviving economic environment.
The opening rounds came at the NBAA Convention in October when Boeing Business Jets and archrival Airbus traded barbs.
Hopes for a first-quarter launch of US Airways’ MidAtlantic division dimmed to a flicker last month as pilots continued their dispute over payscales for new Embraer 170 positions and management took steps to sell off assets to meet minimum federal loan requirements.
US Airways last month demanded a “forthcoming” agreement on merger terms between employee groups of wholly owned subsidiaries Piedmont and Allegheny Airlines in return for an “orderly” transition from two separate entities into one. The airline issued the ultimatum when it announced its intention to consolidate the operations of the units and transfer Allegheny’s fleet of 41 de Havilland Dash 8-100s to Piedmont’s certificate by March 31.
Republic Airways became the second regional airline to claim a stake in US Airways last month when it inked a conditional deal to commit $125 million in equity and up to $110 million in asset-related financing.
A bankruptcy court judge has approved a deal between Air Wisconsin and US Airways that will see the Appleton, Wis.-based regional take an equity stake in the bankrupt major airline and fly up to 70 regional jets as US Airways Express. The arrangement centers on a $125 million loan from Air Wisconsin’s investment arm, Eastshore Aviation, that will convert to equity after US Airways’ planned emergence from bankruptcy this summer.
Brazilian jet manufacturer Embraer has secured a so-called provisional certification from the FAA for the Embraer 170, allowing launch customer US Airways to begin proving runs with the airplane before it wins full FAA certification, now scheduled for next month. The announcement came just weeks after Brazil’s CTA granted similar certification for the 70-seat jet.