The European Regions Airline Association is preparing for a winter of intense lobbying as politicians in Brussels return to their desks this month. The ERA’s new director general, Simon McNamara, has identified new passenger rights rules, airport capacity shortages and constraints on state aid for airlines and airports as the main battleground issues the association hopes to resolve before the European Parliament elections in May next year and the subsequent appointment of new leadership at the European Commission (EC).
While the Air Line Pilots Association has taken an unequivocal stance against the U.S. Justice Department’s attempt to block the merger of bankrupt American Airlines parent AMR and US Airways, at least one segment of the union–namely the unit representing the pilots of American’s wholly owned regional subsidiary–sees things a bit differently.
Delta Air Lines regional subsidiary Pinnacle Airlines begins operating under the name Endeavor Air on August 1, marking the second name change for the airline established as Express Airlines I in February 1985. Operating as a Delta Connection partner since the Atlanta-based major absorbed Northwest Airlines in 2008, Pinnacle became a wholly owned Delta subsidiary in April following its emergence from bankruptcy. The regional airline recently moved its headquarters from Memphis to Minneapolis.
The pilots of U.S. regional airline American Eagle and the management of American Airlines merger partner US Airways have apparently reached an impasse in negotiations over a new contract, potentially delaying further an expected new regional jet order by the “new” American.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration expects its new first officer qualification rule for commercial pilots that require, with certain exceptions, 1,500 hours of flight time and an air transport pilot certificate to appear in the government’s Federal Register on Monday.
The management of American Airlines merger partner US Airways has advised American Eagle pilot leaders that it will not place an order for 76-seat regional jets for Eagle or any other regional airline that hasn’t formulated a plan to “trend toward” the cost structure introduced at wholly owned Delta Air Lines subsidiary Pinnacle Airlines, the head of the American Eagle Air Line Pilots Association unit told membership
A pair of major new suppliers for Embraer’s next-generation E-Jets identified themselves last week in a sign that program advancement continues apace despite the airframer’s reservations about communicating any details about its plans for an industrial launch or even performance specifications.
Regional Airline Association chairman Dan Garton today expressed relief that a bipartisan effort in the U.S. Congress was able to reverse the furloughs of air traffic controllers triggered by federal budget cuts. But he complained that America’s regional carriers had faced a disproportionate burden from the effects of sequestration on the country’s air traffic management system.
Another sign of what Embraer CEO Frederico Curado has characterized as a resurgent regional jet market appeared last week, when United Airlines inked a firm order for 30 of the Brazilian manufacturer’s E175s. The deal, which includes options on another 40 of the 76-seat airplanes, marks the first move by United to exploit its newfound freedom to alter the composition of its regional jet network since its pilots agreed to relax the scope clause in their labor contract last December.
Despite the difficulty ATR has encountered in penetrating the U.S. turboprop market, company CEO Filippo Bagnato continues to express optimism that the Franco-Italian partnership will experience a resurgence in what perhaps represents its final frontier of a sort. Now controlling some 60 percent of the market for 50- to 90-seat airplanes based on unit sales backlogs, the last Western maker of 50-seat-category turboprops sees itself as a potential lifeline for small U.S. cities and communities that can no longer support the services of regional jets of any size.