Houston-based regional airline ExpressJet announced here at NBAA’06 that it planned to open a new division to fly corporate charter services using 10 Embraer ERJ 145XRs scheduled for removal from its Continental Express feeder network. Plans call for the new unit, called ExpressJet Corporate Aviation, to start operations in December and absorb all 10 ERJ 145s by next May.
The union representing the pilots of SkyWest Airlines regional airline subsidiary Atlantic Southeast Airlines on October 13 began picketing the long-time union-free parent company at its St. George, Utah headquarters. At press time, the sides remained far apart on demands for what the union calls a “moderate” wage increase and work rule improvements.
Politicians and the general public are often quick to discount the value of business aviation to the nation’s economy. They take for granted that company personnel can easily meet customers, explore new markets and develop successful businesses.
As a percentage of a $200 airline ticket, taxes and fees more than tripled between 1972 and 2004 thanks to inflation, a decline in the real cost of airline travel and, more recently, increased security charges, as the government struggles to keep pace with the cost of providing the infrastructure necessary to support airline flights.
When corporate headquarters in Atlanta called on Comair to fly Bombardier CRJs three times a day from Cincinnati into Missouri’s Springfield-Branson Regional Airport, the wholly owned Delta subsidiary faced a dilemma familiar to regional airlines everywhere–how to establish a new station too small to justify the cost of the needed equipment and staff. Until recently, the only option lay with hiring another airline to perform the duties.
By just about anyone’s reckoning the FAA audit process known as the Air Transport Oversight System (ATOS) has turned into a horribly labor-intensive and time-consuming job. Now, as the agency’s flight standards office loses about 250 employees a year to budget cuts, the onus has fallen squarely on the nation’s regional airlines to pay the bill.
Five years as an association president might seem like a modest stint to some, but Debby McElroy has seen enough in her tenure at the RAA to last a lifetime.
Riding the wave created by the success of its 50-seat regional jet program (now on the wane as the regional airlines evolve toward larger aircraft), Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has set its sights on becoming a major player in the business aviation market to bolster its move into building larger regional airliners (the 170 and 190 lines).
Apparently done pouring 50-seat jet capacity into a system overflowing with Embraer 145s, Continental Airlines continues to explore the possibility of adding more turboprops to its network, according to Continental managing director of scheduling and planning Karen Zachary.
Danish regional airline Cimber Air is preparing to establish corporate shuttle services to connect companies on the Danish mainland with their satellite production operations in the Ukraine. Firms are being invited to buy blocks of between 20 and 100 one-way flights for the services, which will initially run only on Mondays and Fridays.