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Friday, June 8, 2007

Quick Takes

Topics: Bombardier/Croatia, Midwest, ExcelAire, Embraer, SATA, Jeppesen

Bombardier Places More Q400s
Croatia Airlines ordered four Bombardier (BBD) 76-seat Q400s with two additional options in an order valued at $105 million. The new aircraft replace three ATR-42s in Croatia’s fleet. The airline needs additional capacity, according to President and CEO Dr. Ivan Mišetić, who said he plans to fly longer routes which are not suitable for its Airbus A320 and A419 aircraft. The transaction with Croatia Airlines increases the total number of Q400 aircraft orders to 250. As of April 30, 2007, 152 of these had been delivered to customers in Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East and North America. Croatia Airlines, a full-service airline established in 1989, is the national carrier of the Republic of Croatia. Croatia Airlines also operates Pleso Prijevoz, a coach operator; and Amadeus Croatia, a partner in the Amadeus joint reservation system.

Midwest Initiatives Expected to Gain $260 Million
As shareholders consider the hostile takeover of AirTran (AAI), Midwest Airlines (MEH) said its expects the developments wrought by the rollout of its strategic plan, will yield up to $260 million in additional revenue by 2009. Nearly half of the increased revenues will come from its SkyWest (SKYW) partnership at between $120 million to $150 million. Other initiatives include upgrading cabin interiors, its new code-sharing relationships with Northwest and aircraft additions

Brazil Charges American Legacy Pilots
Brazilian authorities indicted the ExcelAire Embraer Legacy pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino for their alleged part in the crash of a Gol 737 last September in Brazil. The pair are fighting extradition for the charge of unintentional endangerment of an aircraft through negligence. The prosecutor in the case also won the same charges against the air traffic controllers who were involved with one of them charged with knowingly setting the aircraft on a collision course.

Embraer Launches New AHEAD Software
Embraer (ERJ) introduced a new version of AHEAD (Aircraft Health Analysis and Diagnosis), an aircraft operation management system at its operators conference last week. The original version was announced at the June 2006 Regional Airline Association meeting. The new version provides operators with additional functionalities that facilitate decision making during line maintenance activities. The main advanced new features include real-time transmission of alert and maintenance messages (as well as messages generated, but not necessarily displayed, during the flight), advanced filters for improved fault analysis and trend identification, and personalized reports containing information per fleet, aircraft or fault type that support failure analysis. AHEAD monitors the health of an aircraft while it is in flight, through the automatic transmission of warning messages from the aircraft systems to a ground base. The aircraft health information is received and used to generate fault identification reports and initiate any required corrective and preventive action. The system is currently in operation with JetBlue (JBLU) (AHEAD's launch customer) and US Airways (LCC), and is currently being implemented by Finland's Finnair, Panama's Copa Airlines, and Colombia's Aero República.

SATA Air Açores, the Azores Islands-based carrier, which celebrates its 60th anniversary of scheduled operations on June 15, has leased an additional ATP regional turboprop airliner from BAE Systems Regional Aircraft for further route expansion after being award of a new route from Funchal in Madeira to the nearby island of Porto Santo, which is only 50 miles away, the first deployment it has made Azores. The aircraft (msn 2018) was delivered in early June and joins four other ATPs in SATA service. SATA has been an ATP customer for almost 17 years and of the fleet total of five ATPs, three are leased from Regional Aircraft. SATA’s ATPs are used 500 hours a year and annual cycles of 2500 a year, reflecting the short sector lengths, which average only 30 minutes. SATA is developing its sister airline SATA Internacional services, now strengthened by its new route since it allows the airline twin center holiday destinations to both Madeira and the Azores.

Runway Safety Technology from Jeppeson
Manufacturers are scrambling to supply airport, ATC and cockpit-based technologies to address runway safety, the latest of which was rolled out by Jeppesen recently when it announced its hot-spot system. The system designates on its airfield diagram paper charts, in eye-catching magenta coloring, the hotspots (HS1, HS2 etc) on each runway/taxiway and taxiway/taxiway intersection that could lead to a collision. This supplements the red depictions that it has been using on its electronic charts for some time now.
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