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.
Open Travel Alliance
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.
As the debate about FAA reauthorization and funding drags on, the lobbying group representing the major airlines continues to blame general aviation for clogging the airways and causing congestion on the ground.
Gulfstream yesterday ordered 40 of Arinc’s new SkyLink inflight broadband satellite communications systems for installation on its jets. It is the launch order for the system, which Arinc claims offers Internet connections that are five times faster and a third the price of Inmarsat’s rival Swift64 service.
Air Routing International has teamed up with Arinc and Lufthansa Technik Ag in separate ventures, the company announced. Air Routing and Arinc are offering bizjet operators “a portfolio of more than 25 flight services for business aviation under the trade name Arinc Direct,” said the Annapolis, Md. company, a datalink provider.
Among the new products featured at Emteq’s NBAA 2002 exhibit (Booth No. 3429) are a series of additions to the Muskegon, Wis. company’s light emitting diode (LED) line. It emphasized its new high-temperature, low-loss Teflon 75-ohm coaxial cable and its support capabilities for systems such as the Honeywell AIS2000, Honeywell IHAS/TAS and products offered by Iridium original equipment manufacturers.
Pentar Avionics of Seattle announced availability of the new version of its JetLan airborne network server, the JetLan XP. Besides offering enhanced performance compared to the earlier design, company president Bob Rodgers told AIN the JetLan XP “is a much more modular system that can be upgraded to take advantage of new technology as it becomes available.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is taking steps to address the looming pilot and mechanic shortage facing airlines globally. IATA’s training and qualification initiative looked at manufacturers’ market outlook studies, which predict that 17,650 new passenger aircraft will be delivered by 2018, requiring more than 200,000 new pilots, or nearly 19,000 pilots a year.
Boeing’s planned Connexion airborne broadband data service was dealt a damaging blow last month when its three largest customers–American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines–abruptly withdrew from the project in the face of their own fiscal difficulties. As a result, Boeing is left with no equity partners in the venture and only one customer, Lufthansa, for the fledgling in-flight Internet and e-mail service.
Since it began flying a pair of 32-seat Fairchild Dornier 328JETs from its base in Tulsa, Okla., last April, Great Plains Airlines has been promoting plans to establish a new kind of regional airline, dedicated to providing nonstop service from the nation’s heartland to points throughout the U.S.