Europe’s regional airlines continue to struggle against European Commission (EC) bureaucrats who do not appreciate their value or the problems poor legislation and punitive taxation cause, or that they enable European economic prosperity. This was the central message from the “Regions at Risk” conference held by the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) in Porto, Portugal on April 18 and 19.
Notwithstanding consistent losses through which the regional airline industry’s publicly traded carriers have suffered lately, the last three years have proved a period of considerable progress on several fronts. Perhaps most notably, the industry has not registered a fatal accident since the Feb. 12, 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407, in which 50 people died primarily due to pilot error.
Jonathan Ornstein began his career in 1987, working at Los Angeles-based Air LA, a small commuter carrier where he did everything from finance to aircraft cleaning. He moved over to Mesa Air in 1989, where he served as assistant to founder, president and CEO Larry Risley. He worked his way up to executive vice president, and then became president and CEO of Continental Express and senior vice president of airport operations for Continental. He then moved to Brussels, Belgium, to work with Sir Richard Branson to create Virgin Express.
By the time American Eagle president Dan Garton spoke with AIN in late March, he had just presented his labor groups with a restructuring plan that called for a 5-percent reduction in the number of employees to achieve the cost savings the company would need to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Delegates attending the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) spring conference in Porto, Portugal, last week heard about the risks associated with policies that focus on core areas with little or no regard to protecting the provision of air services to the regions where 85 percent of Europe’s population resides.
Current Pinnacle Airlines COO John Spanjers will replace Sean Menke as chief executive of the Memphis, Tennessee-based regional airline group on June 1, Pinnacle said in a statement issued Thursday. Menke, who, according to Pinnacle, has chosen to resign from the company, has agreed to help with the leadership transition over the next five weeks.
General Dynamics has promoted Phebe Novakovic, the head of its marine unit, to the newly created positions of president and COO.
Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 1, marking the start of a process in which it plans to “wind down” all its United Airlines turboprop flying, including its Colgan Air Bombardier Q400 operation.
The training requirements for a commercial pilot certificate in the U.S. don’t prepare aviators for the real world of airline operations, according to a report released in March by the GAO. Flight training also does not emphasize the skills required of young aviators hired by the regional airlines, often their first airline job.
While last year produced a “mixed bag” of modest growth that favored mainline airlines over regional carriers and international over domestic travel, the FAA predicts that airline passenger travel will nearly double over the next 20 years.