Christine Grimaldi

Christine Grimaldi
Mesa In Talks With US Airways To Extend Contract On 38 CRJ900s 

US Airways’ decision to contract nine Bombardier CRJ900s from Mesa Air Group from this spring through to 2021 does not change the expiration of the regional airline’s current agreement to feed the mainline carrier with 38 76-seat jets until September 2015, Mesa tells Aviation Week.

Republic’s Contract To Feed American Airlines Under Fire 

A regional feeder contract between Republic Airways Holdings and American Airlines is facing increased pressure from American Eagle Airlines’ labor unions.

Union opposition already has prompted American Airlines to drop six aircraft from Republic’s 12-year capacity purchase agreement, Republic President and CEO Bryan Bedford said during the operator’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

NATCA Chief Warns Of Long-Term Repercussions Of Sequestration 

The effects of sequestration will be drawn out over months and could irreparably cripple the national airspace system, says National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi.

United Expands Baggage Delivery 

United Airlines has expanded the baggage delivery service it launched last month to 30 additional airports across the U.S. The Chicago-based airline will offer the service to passengers departing from any U.S. airport and arriving in the newly designated destinations, including Newark Liberty International Airport, Honolulu International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. United intends to roll out the service to 100% of its domestic passengers at more than 190 U.S. airports but has no plans to expand the service internationally.

TUI’s Jetairfly Operations Adds Embraer E-Jet To Fleet 

Jetairfly, the Belgium operation of European vacation company TUI travel, has taken delivery of its first new Embraer 190 and will put the aircraft in commercial operations on March 5.

The airline, which is leasing two E-190s from Singapore-based lessor BOC Aviation, also will receive its second 112-seat, single cabin E-Jet in the coming weeks as part of a fleet renewal plan that is scheduled to add a Boeing 787 in the fourth quarter to replace a Boeing 767.

Influential Lawmaker Questions FAA’s Approach To Sequestration 

The FAA must scrutinize its budget to safeguard against any lapse in safety in advance of the pending sequestration, the top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee yesterday warned a U.S. congressional panel.

If sequestration goes into effect as scheduled March 1, both the FAA and Congress must “make sure we don’t allow safety to be questioned or challenged at all,” Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said during an aviation subcommittee hearing convened to assess the FAA’s implementation of its 2012 reauthorization.

Republicans Say FAA Can Easily Avoid Furloughs Should Sequestration Hit 

Republicans in the U.S. Congress argue that the FAA can absorb budget cuts caused by sequestration without enacting furloughs detailed late last week by the Obama administration.

According to a source close to the party, Republicans think the FAA can manage the cuts by using some $222 million in savings generated in the first quarter and reducing non-personnel costs by 7% to generate a further $210 million.

A hiring freeze also will save $50 million for the FAA, and help avoid furloughs, say the Republicans.

United Defers Most 787 Launches 

United Airlines has taken most of its planned Boeing 787s launches from its schedule as federal regulators continue to investigate the failure of lithium-ion batteries on board the aircraft. The action will affect the already delayed launch of service between United’s Houston hub at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, and defers the operation of the Los Angeles International Airport service to Tokyo Narita International Airport launched Jan. 3 until at least June 5.

Latest Merger Positions Regionals For Consolidation 

The merger of AMR Corp.'s American Airlines with US Airways is poised to create the world's largest airline. On the domestic front, however, the pairing of two of the remaining four legacy carriers marks something else: the continued consolidation of the U.S. airline industry. With just Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and a new American Airlines left—should the latest legacy merger receive regulatory approval—consolidation could be nearing the end of its 35-year run since deregulation in 1978.

Jazz Forecasts Less Demand For Feed From Air Canada In 2013 

Chorus Aviation, the parent company of Canadian regional operator Jazz, anticipates a decrease in block hours in 2013 due to lowered demand from the carrier’s primary customer, Air Canada.

“From the preliminary indications we get from Air Canada, it looks as though the demand will be lower for this year,” Chorus CFO Rick Flynn said Feb. 21 during the company’s 2012 earnings call.

President and CEO Joe Randell added, “Of course, the demand is down on the RJs [regional jets] because we have a number of airplanes exiting the fleet.”

Five More Airports Added To TSA's PreCheck Screening Program 

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from April 1 will offer its PreCheck expedited screening program for pre-approved travelers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas; Ohio’s Cleveland Hopkins International; Memphis and Nashville International, Tenn.; and Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina. Once these airports are added, PreCheck will have 40 domestic airports enrolled.

DOT Inspector General Questions Regional Airline Code-Share Oversight 

The investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is calling on regulators to increase oversight of domestic code-sharing agreements to ensure safety and consumer awareness.

First Round Of FedEx Buyout Departures To Occur May 31 

The first group of employees to opt for FedEx Corp.’s voluntary buyout program will leave the company on May 31, the Memphis-based logistics company discloses in its most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

A second group is expected to leave by the end of fiscal 2014, FedEx says in the filing. The latest filing also says FedEx has adjusted its organization structure, which has prompted a “limited number” of officers and managing directors to accepted the voluntary buyout.

New American Is Next Chapter In Industry Consolidation
U.S. airlines are more stable, but has consolidation helped?
New American Expects To Have Single Operator Certificate In Hand By 2015 

The “new American Airlines” created by the merger of AMR Corp. and US Airways should be operating under a single certificate by early 2015.

US Airways Chairman and CEO Doug Parker, speaking to analysts and reporters Feb. 14 during a conference call, said previous mergers historically took 18 months to obtain a single air operator certificate. “That is pretty much the longest pole in the tent in terms of operational integration,” he said.

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