United Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SkyWest Airlines to operate select portions of the company’s United Express service. The MOU, announced June 10, signals an 11-year relationship that includes a new rate structure and allows for more airplanes to be added to the United Express fleet. It also calls for SkyWest to operate a total of 140 aircraft.
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Regional carriers Comair, Republic and Trans States last month announced plans to cut hundreds of jobs. Some of the biggest cuts will come from Cincinnati-based Comair, which expects to cut 300 pilot jobs and 220 flight attendant positions as the airline moves forward with plans to remove 15 percent of its flying capacity starting next month.
There is no short-term fix for the high price of oil, concluded panelists at the Air Service Energy Summit, held on July 10 in Washington, D.C.
United Airlines last month asked a judge overseeing its bankruptcy case for permission to end the code-sharing and marketing agreement with regional carrier Great Lakes Aviation. According to a UAL spokesman, the request is “essentially procedural” and does not mean UAL rejects out of hand Great Lakes as a code-sharing and marketing partner.
One of Northrop Grumman’s growing family of mine countermeasures has advanced to the flight-trial phase. The company installed the airborne surveillance, target acquisition and minefield detection system (ASTAMIDS) in a modified UH-1H Huey for its first flight, at Melbourne, Florida, on April 30, with the aim of achieving low-rate initial production next year.
For years major airline executives have recognized their regional affiliates’ potential to take a more active role in serving markets that until recently occupied the exclusive domain of mainline operations. But limited labor resources and influential pilot unions curbed efforts to penetrate the artificial barrier between mainline and regional flying.
Continental Airlines last month said it would end all pilot furloughs this year to stem excessive pilot-training costs at its Continental Express subsidiary. A “flow-through” agreement negotiated in ConEx’s pilot contract in 1998 allows furloughed mainline pilots to bid for positions at the regional airline.
George Bagley, president and CEO of Horizon Air since 1995, has accepted the position of executive vice president of operations at Alaska Airlines, leaving the top post at Horizon to the airline’s former v-p of customer services, Jeff Pinneo. Bagley, 56, will report directly to Alaska Airlines president William Ayer, who recently became CEO as part of Alaska Air Group’s recent “comprehensive executive succession plan.”
For the first time in recent memory the U.S. regional airline industry could experience a drop in passenger boardings during the second half of this year as skyrocketing fuel costs prompt the nation’s major airlines to reconsider the use of their partners’ most fuel-thirsty assets.
There’s that old saying, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” And if ever there was an ill wind, it’s the one that has been generated by the price of oil and its effect on the airlines. But that same wind is bringing new opportunities to business aviation, with the prospect of expanded operations and the likelihood of added airplanes to the industry’s fleet.