If the DOT adopts “market-based” actions to relieve airport congestion and delays, which it is considering, landing fees could soar for corporate and commercial operators.
The U.S. airline industry last month felt the opening tremors of what could become the biggest shakeup in the business since the introduction of the regional jet. On August 15, US Airways announced a plan to fly 50- to 69-seat RJs within its mainline system, using mainline flight crews as part of a far-reaching reorganization effort.
Switzerland’s Crossair has frozen all hiring for an undetermined period, redoubled efforts to attract more business passengers, reduced frequencies on a number of marginal routes and moved smaller airplanes to others as the regional airline attempts to reverse one of the most difficult financial periods in its illustrious history.
Despite signs of revival last year, when traffic rose by 6- to 8 percent, the Russian regional air transport system remains in dire straits. Lack of appreciable demand in the market, aging fleets and the absence of reasonably priced capital in the country’s banking sector have conspired to frustrate recent efforts to move the industry out of its doldrums.
Short of cash after a financially strenuous year marked by a strong rise in fuel prices, the Austrian regional AirAlps has relinquished its exclusive code- sharing agreement with KLM and found new investors in Northern Italy.
The management of Swiss regional airline Swisswings (formerly Air Engiadina) has announced the successful completion of a refinancing program that provided SFr8 million ($5 million) in fresh capital before the subscription deadline of Aug. 30, 2001. The company previously reduced share capital by 60 percent to liquidate accumulated debt.
The economic doldrums have begun to markedly slow the phenomenal growth European regional carriers have enjoyed in recent years.
Aegean Airlines chief operating officer Antonis Simigdalas has to rummage among framed certificates stacked by his desk to find the Greek regional’s independent air-carrier licence (ACL), the first issued in Greece. A man in a hurry, the airline executive has had no time to mount the document on his Athens office wall.
As the tragic events of September 11 unfolded in New York City and Washington, D.C., the potential effect on the regional airline industry’s bottom line paled in significance to the loss of life and the implications to global peace. But as the days wore on and the initial shock of the tragedy subsided, the recognition of the profound changes in store for the entire air transport business became painfully apparent.
The first four years of the 2000s have been a trial for aviation. While the decade got off to a heady start in 2000 with the high times of the late-1990s boom still going strong, by the spring of 2001 the industry’s fortunes were taking a southerly course.