Embraer and SkyWest Airlines announced at the Regional Airline Association convention on Tuesday that they have reached a 12-year component management service agreement by which Embraer will provide support for the carrier’s entire fleet of E175s. The agreement includes more than 160 repairable part numbers, covering 21 ATA (Air Transport Association) chapters of the SkyWest Airlines E175 fleet. Embraer also signed a 10-year contract with the airline to provide the Ahead-Pro system.
The shortage of qualified entry-level pilots at the regional airlines hasn’t come as some unexpected phenomenon to the Regional Airline Association. The group has warned for years now that the change in first-officer pilot requirements that mandates an ATP certificate and what it terms an “arbitrary” 1,500 hours of flying time would result in loss of air service to small communities in particular.
With many of Europe’s regional airlines feeling unloved and forgotten by the central powers, ERA director general Simon McNamara has spent much of his first year visiting as many airline members as possible to understand how they tick, and what challenges they face. “We’ve put a lot more focus on the membership,” he told AIN. “And we are trying harder to let our members know what we’re doing and why.”
China’s great need for airline pilots is well documented, not least by Boeing, which last year estimated that the country’s fast-expanding air transport industry will need some 77,400 pilots through 2032 (plus 93,900 mechanics). According to the airframer, that represents around 40 percent of the overall requirement across the Asia Pacific region over the same period.
A contract from a Hong Kong-based owner of a Bombardier Challenger 850 has given Flying Colours Corp. the opportunity to develop its first cabin interior entirely made from carbon fiber. The aircraft was delivered after 16 weeks of work just before this year’s ABACE show, where the Canada-based maintenance, completions and refurbishment specialist is exhibiting (Booth H606).
While the Regional Airline Association and regional airline management point to new rules governing flight time experience for first officers as the primary reason for a pilot shortage that has resulted in a loss of service to several U.S. communities, pilots contend the airlines have made their own mess by creating a business model predicated on breadline wages for cockpit crew. The Air Line Pilots Association, for one, argues that there’s no shortage of pilots, only a shortage of pilots willing to fly for substandard wages and inadequate benefits.
Five-month-old Indian regional airline Air Costa plans to start international operations once India lifts its rule that limits new carriers to domestic services during their first five years of operation. Ahead of that revision, the carrier, which ordered a mix of 50 Embraer E190-E2s and E195-E2s at the Singapore Air Show in February, has applied for a national permit to fly pan-India, Vivek Choudhary, chief commercial officer and vice president of corporate finance of parent company LEPL Projects, told AIN.
India’s next government needs to press ahead with the development of domestic air routes, according to a new report published by consultants KPMG last week. India’s Five-Year Plan for the period 2012 to 2017 included a policy to improve flight connections between second- and third-tier cities, but progress all but stalled due to the political inertia that has gripped government ahead of elections to be held in April and May. At the same time, the recent downgrading of the country’s aviation authorities to Category 2 by the U.S. FAA has compromised India’s ability to develop further international air service.
As Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Silver Airways became the third U.S. regional airline this month to announce significant service cuts due to what it called a nationwide pilot shortage, the Regional Airline Association amplified its message of opposition to a new rule requiring 1,500 hours of flying experience for new-hire first officers.
The European Commission on Thursday adopted new guidelines for limiting state aid to regional airports and airlines, a move the EC claims will reduce competitive distortion by discouraging overcapacity at small, unprofitable facilities.