The House of Representatives on July 22 unanimously approved a bipartisan aviation bill that tightens the FAA’s airline maintenance oversight procedures and creates an Aviation Safety Whistleblower Investigation Office.
In a move that makes it look as though the FAA is combing through old logbooks to find ways to conduct enforcement actions on commercial operators, the agency on August 14 assessed $7.1 million in civil penalties against American Airlines. Earlier this year, the FAA requested a record $10.2 million for maintenance violations at Southwest Airlines, and the FAA recently said that it would not reduce that amount.
American Eagle had to ground nine Embraer ERJ regional jets at Chicago O’Hare Airport on August 19 after a TSA officer used the airplanes’ total air temperature (TAT) probes to hoist himself onto jet bridges to perform routine security checks. According to an American Eagle spokesperson, at around 5:30 a.m.
Republic Airways CEO Bryan Bedford’s characterization of the Chautauqua Airlines pilots’ vote in favor of US Airways’ “Jets for Jobs” arrangement as “a day late and a dollar short” prompted Teamsters Local 747 representatives to mail strike ballots to the 700-strong pilot group. The union planned to count the ballots on June 20.
American Eagle will cut its daily schedule by 37 flights at New York La Guardia Airport, 34 flights in Chicago and seven in Boston, close its stations in Albany, N.Y.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Providence, R.I.; San Luis Obispo, Calif.; and Samana, Dominican Republic; and ground 29 of its 37-seat Embraer ERJ 135s along with 25 Saab 340 turboprops as American Airlines proceeds with plans to slash capacity this fall by 12 percent systemwide.
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.
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.
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.”
American Eagle has begun cutting capacity among its Saab 340 and ATR turboprop fleets to comply with a clause in the American Airlines pilot contract that requires the company to freeze its regional subsidiary’s ASMs. The reductions in turboprop capacity come as the airline introduces its new fleet of 70-seat Bombardier CRJ700s, the first of which entered service January 31 on routes between Dallas and Oklahoma City and Houston.
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.