It had been a somewhat quiet year since the RAA staged its annual convention in St. Louis last May. Seemingly immune to the ills that have crippled their mainline counterparts for the past four years, the regional airlines finished last year with close to 30-percent traffic gains and average yields of 10 percent, leaving many wondering how long the major airlines would allow such an imbalance to continue.
Republic Airways became the second regional airline to claim a stake in US Airways last month when it inked a conditional deal to commit $125 million in equity and up to $110 million in asset-related financing.
A bankruptcy court judge has approved a deal between Air Wisconsin and US Airways that will see the Appleton, Wis.-based regional take an equity stake in the bankrupt major airline and fly up to 70 regional jets as US Airways Express. The arrangement centers on a $125 million loan from Air Wisconsin’s investment arm, Eastshore Aviation, that will convert to equity after US Airways’ planned emergence from bankruptcy this summer.
As the emirate of Dubai helds its biennial international airshow last month, travelers from anywhere but a major city were feeling first hand the pressures against a robust regional-airline industry in the Arab world.
The FAA’s Annual Aerospace Forecast always tries to paint the most optimistic picture of the industry that the agency’s statistics will support, and this year proved to be no exception. On the airline side of the house, the agency said that the number of passengers will return to pre-2001 levels this year.
Notwithstanding recent complaints of poor operational performance by the nation’s biggest regional airlines, passenger boardings, revenue passenger miles (RPMs), load factors and average trip distance all broke records during last year’s third quarter, according to statistics compiled by Washington, D.C.-based The Velocity Group for the Regional Airline Association.
Brazilian business jet and regional airline manufacturer Embraer estimates 11,115 business jets will be delivered over the next 10 years and that 2,500 to 3,000 will be very light jets (VLJ) for the air-taxi market. Among the models under development at Embraer is the Phenom 100 VLJ for entry into service in the middle of next year.
Airplanes certainly qualify as high-value assets, and operating and maintaining a fleet of them can be a tricky exercise, especially in the airline industry, where razor-thin profit margins make it difficult to keep cash flowing in the right direction. That’s precisely why companies like Avexus were created.
For many of the world’s airlines, the long and tiresome road to recovery has taken them through dips and valleys, hairpin bends and in some cases complete U-turns. Today, after seemingly negotiating much of the most difficult terrain, European airlines have caught a glimpse of the promised land over the horizon. So why, you ask, have the biggest airlines in the U.S.
The so-called regional jet revolution has in the minds of many rendered turboprops a quaint throwback to the days of “commuter” airlines. But this year’s spate of big orders for new turboprops has turned conventional wisdom on its ear, giving the last two Western builders of prop-driven airliners a renewed sense of vitality.