What will the regional airline industry look like when the economic dust settles? That’s the question the Regional Airline Association challenged its panelists to answer at the RAA fall meeting, held October 28 and 29 in Washington, D.C.
Grand China Express (GCE), the country’s largest regional carrier, wants to be Asia’s biggest regional carrier. A subsidiary of Hainan Airlines, GCE has 38 aircraft serving 55 Chinese cities with more than 80 scheduled daily routes. “We aim to be the top player in Asia by 2012, grabbing 90 percent of the regional airline market,” said Chen Feng, chairman of Hainan Airlines, which ordered 50 E190s and 50 ERJ 145s for GCE in August 2006.
Airfield performance in hot climates, operational independence and customization flexibility are principal factors behind a recent upsurge of interest in corporate versions of the British Aerospace 146 regional jet and its Avro RJ variant, according to the manufacturer.
The 2008-09 European regional airline of the year is Aegean Airlines of Greece, which has won the award for the second time. COO Antonis Simigdalas (second from left) insisted that his senior management team be present at last month’s European Regions Airline Association general assembly in Manchester (UK) to accept the award. Ireland’s CityJet and Norwegian operator Widerøe placed second and third, respectively.
Former airline executive David Siegel has eschewed big iron in favor of business jets, having been named president and CEO of California-based XOJet, a rapidly growing private aviation company.
Manassas, Va.-based regional airline Colgan Air has allowed Saab 340 first officer Erich Scherfen to return to work after he and his wife sued the U.S. government for allegedly placing them on a terrorist watch list. Scherfen, a New Jersey native and veteran of the first Gulf War who converted to Islam in 1994, said that when his name surfaced on a TSA “no fly” list in April, Colgan Air grounded him and placed him on administrative leave.
UK regional airline Eastern Airways is “exactly on track, or slightly ahead” of projections for this year, according to COO Chris Holliday. Although he attributes continued profitability to tight financial controls, Eastern has “always been extremely focused on costs,” he said.
The General Accounting Office ruled yesterday that the Federal Aviation Administration lacks the authority to auction arrival and departure slots at Newark Liberty International Airport, at least temporarily laying to rest the controversy that led the Regional Airline Association and the Air Transport Association to vigorously protest a plan to distribute the slots once awarded to Eos Airlines to the highest bidder.
Manassas, Va.-based regional airline Colgan Air has allowed pilot Erich Scherfen to return to work after he and his wife sued the U.S. government for allegedly placing them on a terrorist watch list. Scherfen, a New Jersey native and veteran of the first Gulf War who converted to Islam in 1994, said that when his name surfaced on a TSA “no fly” list in April, Colgan Air grounded him and placed him on administrative leave.
The DOT’s plan to auction a single round-trip slot at Newark Liberty International Airport on September 3 sets a perilous precedent U.S. regional airlines can ill afford to let stand, according to Regional Airline Association (RAA) president Roger Cohen.