While Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has promised that the government will not stand in the way of innovative aviation ideas, at a January meeting of the Washington Aero Club he warned that “we need to start thinking creatively about long-term options for financing infrastructure.” He did not specify what those options might be.
Brazil’s business aviation association has a lot more to celebrate this year than it did 12 months ago, with growing demand for aircraft and solid financial results from executive charter companies flowing from significant improvements in the local economy.
New airline industry statistics released last month by the office of DOT inspector general Kenneth Mead revealed that regional jets now account for one-quarter of all departures in the U.S. In absolute terms, RJ frequencies increased 140 percent (from 88,474 to 212,126 departures) since December 2000, when the small jets accounted for just 10 percent of all departures.
In November, when SkyEurope began serving London and Paris from Budapest, Hungarian media mocked the carrier as fapados, meaning wooden bench–the painfully plain, rickety class of travel from communist days. The names never hurt them. So Hungary tossed regulatory stones at the bare-bones regional to break any advantage over its national carrier, Malev.
Fear mongering has been a growth industry in the U.S. since 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001. Sometimes our discomfort is an unspoken undercurrent; other times there is no subtlety as the forces of opportunism seek to gorge at a trough flash-flooded with public money.
Still eagerly awaiting signs of lasting recovery from its three-year slump, the world’s aerospace industry will be looking to Singapore’s biennial airshow to deliver more of the sort of upbeat activity levels reported at the Dubai show staged in December. Asian Aerospace 2004 (February 24 to 29) will be viewed as a particularly important indicator of the health of the air-transport industry in the Asia/Pacific region.
Last month, FAA COO Russell Chew told a standing-room-only audience at the annual conference of the U.S. Air Traffic Control Association that a widening gap between the falling income and rising expenses of the agency’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) could reach a cumulative $8.2 billion over the next five years and he said the FAA must take positive actions to close this gap.
It was almost painfully uncomfortable. The recently hired customer service representative was up to her belt buckle in alligators, all the line techs were missing, her line chief was deep in conversation with an important customer and everyone else from management was in a meeting off site.
Smaller aircraft–specifically regional jets–are often blamed for delays in the National Airspace System, said Mesa Air Group chairman and CEO Jonathan Ornstein, in a recent speech at the Washington Aero Club, but he argues that “playing the blame game” takes focus off the need to expand airport capacity and continue to modernize the ATC system.
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.