The fallout over last week's incident in which 47 passengers were stranded overnight on an ERJ-145 operated by ExpressJet Holdings continued yesterday, with House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (R-Minn.) claiming that more than 415 flights had "taxi-out times of three hours or more" in the US in the first half of 2009.
Piedmont Airlines, a wholly owned regional subsidiary of US Airways, stands to lose the most in the slot swap agreement that was announced yesterday between US and Delta Air Lines (see story above). Piedmont, which operates a fleet of 56 Dash 8s, will end all service at New York LaGuardia and eliminate 300 positions when the reduced flight schedule begins. It also will close its pilot and flight attendant domiciles and line maintenance at LGA.
Mesa Air Group reported a net loss of $2.7 million in its fiscal third quarter ended June 30, an improvement from the $3.7 million loss suffered during the same period one year ago.
Operating revenue was $232.6 million, down 34.3%, primarily owing to capacity reductions and lower fuel revenue under its fee-for-departure agreements. Operating expenses fell 36% to $228.4 million and operating income was $4.2 million, a reversal from the $3.2 million loss in the year-ago quarter.
World airport passenger traffic fell 5% in June compared to June 2008 to 262.3 million, which represented a slowing of the downward trend from May, when traffic was down 8% year-over-year, according to Airports Council International.
MY MIND CLICKS ON AND OFF . . . I try letting one eyelid close at a time when I prop the other open with my will. But the effort's too much. Sleep is winning. My whole body argues dully that nothing, nothing life can attain is quite so desirable as sleep. My mind is losing resolution and control."
US House of Representatives today will unveil legislation that, if passed, will require more stringent screening and training for pilots flying commercial aircraft. The Airline Safety and Pilot Training Improvement Act of 2009 is being introduced by bipartisan leadership of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the subcommittee on aviation including James Oberstar (D-Minn.), John Mica (R-Fla.), Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) and Thomas Petri (R-Wis.). The proposed law follows a series of Congressional hearings on the February crash of a Colgan Air Q400 that killed 50.
European flight crews are criticizing the EU for failing to tackle the issue of pilot fatigue, pointing out that the US has taken the lead on this perennial issue following the February crash a Colgan Air Q400 that killed 50.
The European Cockpit Assn., which represents more than 38,200 pilots and flight engineers, said the EU has "shied away" from acting on the results of scientific studies that show current rules on pilot fatigue are insufficient and require improvement.
US Airways will cut 600 ground positions at nine airports in response to declining revenue and the falloff of business demand, it said yesterday. Work will be outsourced to contractors at airports served primarily by regional partners operating as US Airways Express. US also said it will ask 400 flight attendants to take voluntary furloughs in order to prevent layoffs. "Today's economy demands we continue to look for ways to control costs," COO Robert Isom wrote in a memo to employees provided to ATWOnline.
Republic Airways Holdings moved a step closer to acquiring Frontier Airlines after a bankruptcy court judge approved the regional operator's proposal to purchase the Denver-based carrier for $108.8 million.
Frontier reportedly has solicited other bids. If other offers come in before Aug. 10, the court will hold an auction. The airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2008.
As passenger traffic continues a downward trend, airports must deal with the immediate impact while not losing sight of the need to plan for long-term growth. That was the consensus at the ACI-Europe Annual Assembly and Conference in Manchester in June.
After spending $1 million over the past year in an airline incentive program that offered a 75% reduction in landing fees at Myrtle Beach Airport, officials decided to extend it through mid-2010 in an effort to protect the current domestic air service program. The fee structure will continue for a nine-month period starting in September.
Republic Airways Holdings has offered to buy bankrupt Frontier Airlines Holdings for $108.8 million, which if approved would allow Frontier to exit bankruptcy and increase Republic's stable of carriers.
Continuing its effort to improve airline safety, US FAA said this week that it wants to improve training and make it easier for prospective employers to access complete FAA files for pilot applicants.
The renewed focus on safety was sparked by February's fatal crash of a Colgan Air Q400 outside Buffalo. The pilot, Marvin Renslow, did not reveal to Colgan that he had failed check rides prior to his employment at the regional carrier.