The regional airlines became an economic safety net of sorts after September 11, when the majors quickly realized they could not survive flying large airplanes nearly empty. The options–cut flights and market presence entirely or replace mainline jets with smaller aircraft–presented airlines with a clear course of action. Code-sharing regional airliners quickly delivered cost-effective solutions.
By any measure of market share and financial performance, the convalescence of the U.S. regional airline industry looks nearly complete. Since last year’s RAA convention in Phoenix, the nation’s regionals have posted double-digit traffic gains while margins marched toward pre-9/11 levels and RJ fleets grabbed another 5 percent of the air transport network’s market share. Far from issuing a clean bill
At first it might seem like an odd couple: Don Burr, People Express founder and low-fare airline pioneer, and Bob Crandall, controversial megastar of American Airlines. Fierce competitors in the 1980s, the two men are now combining their talents and their money to develop a national on-demand, regional-based air-taxi network with hundreds of very light twinjets. Crandall is chairman of the new venture and Burr is CEO.
When a China Airlines 737NG caught fire soon after landing at Okinawa’s Naha Airport on August 20, initial suspicions centered on maintenance issues, but new developments show the problem might be more widespread than first considered. Investigators discovered that a loose bolt in the leading-edge slat track assembly–believed to have been missing a washer–pierced the wing fuel tank, allowing fuel to escape.
Visitors who arrived at this year’s NBAA Convention on a commercial flight into Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport might have noticed a much longer glide on the approach and less noise in the cabin.
In a boost for Louisville, Colo.-based AirCell (Booth No. 1630), Gulfstream has selected the company’s Axxess cabin communications system as standard equipment aboard its line of large-cabin business jets spanning the G300 through G550.
Today it is normal to have maintenance performed on our aircraft or components almost anywhere in the world. With the availability of overnight delivery of almost any aircraft component to any location, it makes sense to seek out the most capable and cost-effective certified repair facility almost without regard for its location.
Trans States and Chautauqua Airlines will serve seven new destinations from St. Louis starting September 5 as part of a push by American Airlines to replenish its downsized hub with regional jets. At the same time the airline will end American Connection service between St. Louis and Dallas Love Field, a route Trans States now flies for American directly against Southwest Airlines.
Pogo is the new name for the former iFly Air Taxi, a company that plans initially to use 75 Adam A700 very light twinjets as a start toward a national “air limo” network. “We wanted to find a name that conveys the idea of quickly hopping from one place to another,” said Pogo CEO Donald Burr, founder of People Express. Former competitor Bob Crandall, retired chief of American Airlines, is chairman of the new venture.
As the wheels of FAA rulemaking grind inexorably forward, the nation’s largest union of airline pilots executed a 180-degree turn on mandatory retirement for airline pilots at age 60.