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Andrew Compart andrew_compart@aviationweek.com

Andrew Compart andrew_compart@aviationweek.com
Frontier's New Fees Carry Some Risk 

Frontier Airlines, which parent company Republic Airways soon hopes to sell, has introduced a complex pricing structure for services that varies depending on how a passenger purchases a ticket.

Spirit's A319 Leases Expire As NEOs Arrive 

Spirit Airlines’ 33 aircraft lease expirations from 2016-2019 include all 29 of its Airbus A319 aircraft, including five in 2016, nine in both 2017 and 2018 and six in 2019, the low-cost carrier tells Aviation Week. Leases also are expiring on two Airbus A320s and two A321s in 2017.

The expiration dates carry particular weight because CEO Ben Baldanza during the company’s first quarter earnings call earlier this week suggested many of those leases will not be renewed as newer and more fuel-efficient Airbus A320s are received.

Aircraft Sales Boost Fly Leasing Profit 

Fly Leasing sold nine aircraft with an average age of 13.5 years for a total of $78 million in the first quarter, generating a $6.5 million gain over net book value and contributing to a big increase in its first-quarter profit.

Aircastle Plans Eight Part-Outs 

Aircastle expects to part-out half of the 16 aircraft with lease expirations scheduled this year.

The planned retirements include at least one mid-aged Airbus A319 and many Boeing 767-300ERs. High engine values are the driving factor behind the decision to sell the parts instead of re-leasing or selling the jets, Aircastle executives said May 2 during the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call.

“We have a team now to position us to benefit from the strength in engine values,” CEO Ron Wainshal says.

Spirit Growth To Focus On Connecting Dots 

Spirit Airlines’ continued growth will focus on adding flights that connect cities already in its route network, CEO Ben Baldanza says, citing the new service the carrier will begin between Latrobe, Pa., and Dallas this June as an example.

Based in south Florida, the rapidly growing, low-cost carrier still is estimating capacity growth of 21% for this year, when it is taking delivery of two Airbus A319 and seven Airbus A320 aircraft.

Embraer Production Stabilized By United Deal 
United Airlines’ order for Embraer 175 jets will let the Brazilian airframer maintain its current production levels, and winning a few more orders would allow it to boost production by 10-15%, President and CEO Frederico Curado says.
Labor Deals Still Stymie Republic, CEO Says 

It will be “very difficult” for Republic Airways Holdings to compete for new business with mainline carriers on regional flying before it reaches agreements with its labor unions, and there still is no clear end in sight to the years-long negotiations with regional pilots, CEO Bryan Bedford says.

“Until we have greater clarity on our labor costs, it is going to be very difficult for Republic to compete effectively for new business,” Bedford said during the airline holding company’s first-quarter earnings call today.

ATR Foresees Japan Sales Boost From FAA Certification 

Turboprop aircraft manufacturer ATR says it has received certification from the FAA for its ATR 42-600 and 72-600 aircraft—a milestone it believes will provide a boost not only for sales efforts in the U.S., but also Japan.

DOT Secretary Nominee Has US Airways Hub Airport Connection 

President Obama on Monday nominated the leader of a city with a US Airways hub to become the nation’s next transportation secretary, citing Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx’s experience in local government, relationships with other local government officials and advocacy for infrastructure improvements in his city.

Those infrastructure projects included a third parallel runway at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, which opened in 2010, as well as improvements for light rail and streetcar service.

United RJ Order Leaves Some Questions Unanswered
So far it's unclear which 50-seaters will be replaced, and which United partner will operate them.
Furloughs End, But Uncertainty Remains
Will FAA still fund the contract ATC tower program?
Southwest's Atlanta Plan Add Daytime Flights 

Southwest Airlines in November will finish converting operations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport from hub-and-spoke to point-to-point, which will result in additional daytime flights that are more appealing to business travelers, and potentially a bigger challenge to the airport’s dominant operator Delta Air Lines.

TSA May Shift Exit Lane Costs To Airports 

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) this month is planning to issue a proposed policy change that would let it unilaterally shift the costs for monitoring passenger exits to airports, an Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) executive says.

By proposing an airport security program change, the TSA would avoid using the Notice for Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) process or the need for Congressional approval before implementing the cost shift, which is valued at almost $90 million a year.

GE Engine Maintenance Costs JetBlue $20 Million
WASHINGTON - JetBlue Airways says it spent $20 million in the first quarter to accelerate “engine performance restorations” on General Electric CF34-10s that power its Embraer 190s. (Photo:Tony Hisgett)
FAA Chief Says Targeted Furloughs Will Not Work 

The FAA considered targeted controller furloughs to mitigate delays at the country’s busiest airports, but decided it would make little difference from broader furloughs and could poison the work environment, says the agency’s Administrator Michael Huerta says.

“We came to the conclusion that the national airspace system is an interconnected network,” Huerta said in response to a question about the furlough distribution during testimony April 24 before the House Appropriations transportation subcommittee.

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