French regional airlines AOM and Air Liberté have escaped the jaws of bankruptcy through their purchase by an Air France pilot. The airlines–formerly owned by SAirGroup and French investment firm Taitbout Antibes–expect to shed 1,800 jobs, restructure and adopt a new name as part of a plan to form a viable rival to Air France.
With the U.S. economy vacillating between recession and recovery for most of the year, no one was terribly surprised when the Department of Labor reported that unemployment figures climbed to nearly 6 percent in October. And as a wavering marketplace goes, so too does the use of business aircraft and hence the need for qualified professionals to staff them.
While people dealing in pre-owned turboprops are not exactly doing cartwheels over the state of their industry these days, most are optimistic that the downward spiral seems to be flattening out. They cite an apparent leveling of prices, which is bringing buyers back into the marketplace, and more favorable insurance rates.
On November 5, U.S. voters will determine whether Republicans or Democrats have the majority in the House and Senate, and how this pans out has obvious importance to the Bush Administration. In the Senate, where the Democrats enjoy a one-vote majority, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who may have aspirations to run for president in 2004, has been a constant thorn in the side of President Bush by holding up progress on a number of bills.
As one French regional airline bites the dust, another is ready to take its place, operated by the company’s former pilots. R-Lines has been placed into “legal observation,” which means it will almost certainly be declared bankrupt at the beginning of next month following its failure to meet its debt obligations.
“If you can’t beat them, join them” might well have been the theme for a debate on the challenge posed by the so-called no-frills carriers during last month’s general assembly of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) in Salzburg, Austria.
Spanish regional carrier Air Nostrum has won the ERA’s Airline of the Year Gold Award for the second time, having previously claimed top honors in 1999. This year’s silver and bronze awards were won, respectively, by Norwegian operator Wideroe and Italy’s Air Dolomiti–a result that was itself a precise repeat of last year’s award.
There was no disguising the subdued, even solemn, mood of Europe’s regional airlines as they gathered for their annual general assembly in Salzburg, Austria, from October 1 to 3. At 6.3 percent, passenger growth for the first half of this year is markedly down from the double-digit growth enjoyed in recent years and, more seriously, yields are down right across the industry.
Going from real estate to on-demand business jet charter seems a bit of a stretch. But according to Green Air founder Steven Green, it makes perfect sense.
After several years of bitter debate, partial privatization of the UK’s ATC system became a reality on July 27 when the Airline Group completed the acquisition of a 46-percent stake in National Air Traffic Services (NATS). The government has retained a 49-percent stake, with the remaining 5 percent going to NATS employees.