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.
A recent slew of new announcements from BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has reminded the industry that the BAE146/ Avro RJ jetliner family has not gone away. New lease packages to regional airlines, the possibility of a new production line and some innovative conversion packages all suggest that the four-engine jets still have some life left in them.
For the first time, Bombardier Aerospace has revealed its expectations of the 100- to 149-seat commercial-aircraft market segment at which the proposed C Series jetliner would be aimed. The statistics appear in a 20-year forecast published here yesterday.
Canada’s Bombardier Aerospace (Hall 3 Stand D8) enters this Farnborough show with some critical questions to answer about the future of its regional airliner business. Operating under a cloud of speculation and conjecture since it announced its decision to shelve the once-heralded C Series project in January, the company continues to contemplate its next course of action.
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.