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Friday, April 13, 2007

Quick Takes

Kathryn Creedy

Topics: American Eagle, ATR, Big Sky, ExpressJet, Freedom, Frontier/Republic, Horizon, Phenom, Midwest Connect, Pinnacle/Ramco, Republic/Delta, United.

American Eagle Adds CVG Route
American (AMR) assigned American Eagle to launch new service between New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Cincinnati with a $238 roundtrip introductory fare. The airline will use a combination of Embraer (ERJ) ERJ 135s, 140s and 145s on the four roundtrips daily on the route. The new Cincinnati service, which began April 10, is part of American's initiative to become New York’s airline of choice. American is increasing its presence in New York City by adding a number of new routes, completing its new $1.1 billion terminal at JFK International Airport and upgrading amenities on international and transcontinental flights.

ATR Set to Up Deliveries This Year
In the first quarter of this year, ATR delivered six new aircraft (two ATR 72-500s to Finncomm Airlines, two ATR 72-500s to CCM, one ATR 72-500 to Kingfisher Airlines and one ATR 42-500 to Pakistan International Airlines). It has increased production and expects to deliver a total of 44 new aircraft during 2007.

Big Sky Adds Three More DL Markets
Delta (DALRQ) Connection carrier Big Sky Airlines will connect Boston to markets to Boston from three more Northeast business – Allentown, Pa.; Islip, N.Y.; and Burlington, Vt. The move follows a similar announcement focused on upstate New York. Related Story  Big Sky will use 19-seat Beechcraft 1900D aircraft, on the two round-trip flights between Boston and Allentown, effective July 15, with a third round-trip starting Augusut 20. The 19-seaters will also be used on the two round-trip flights between Boston and Burlington, effective August 20 and three round-trip flights between Boston and Islip, effective July 15. Additionally, Delta will add a third daily round-trip flight between Boston and Albany, effective Aug. 20.

ExpressJet Launches Service Under Its Own Brand At SMF
A week after inaugurating its new point-to-point service, ExpressJet (XJT) added Sacramento to its growing network. Sacramento travelers had their first experience with ExpressJet’s new non-stop service from San Antonio, Spokane and Tucson on Monday. ExpressJet will bring non-stop service on line to connect Sacramento with Colorado Springs, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque and Tulsa in time for the summer travel season. The airline will also provide one-stops to Austin, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. On April 30 it launches service to Colorado Springs while, while on May 7, Oklahoma City will be added along with Albuquerque and Tulsa on May 21.

Vermont Denies Airline Request to Drop Complaint
Vermont’s Human Rights Commission denied a request by Delta and Freedom Airlines (RJET) to drop a complaint lodged by a New Mexico woman who was kicked off a plane at Burlington, Vt. for breast feeding her infant before takeoff. The two airlines cited federal pre-emption laws in their request. Freedom was operating a Delta Connection flight last October when a flight attendant decided breast feeding was not appropriate in public and, when the passenger refused to stop, escorted her from the aircraft.

Frontier/Republic Launch Louisville Service
Republic Airlines (RJET), operating for Frontier (FRNT), launched daily non-stop service between its Denver hub and Louisville International Airport (SDF) April 1 with two daily non-stop flights between Denver and Louisville using 76-seat Embraer 170s. According to a 2006 survey conducted by the Greater Louisville Chamber of Commerce, 68.2 percent of Greater Louisville employers require travel to Denver and 88.2 percent require access to the West Coast.

Horizon Offers Larger Aircraft, Lower Fares at Bellingham
Starting April 22, Horizon Air (ALK) is cutting fares between Bellingham and Seattle by up to half and increasing available seating by 50 percent, having completed a transition to larger aircraft on the route. Fares between Bellingham and Seattle, currently $77-$125 one way, are dropping as low as $49 for limited tickets purchased 14 days or more ahead of travel and $69 for unrestricted tickets purchased at the last minute. The lower fares are permanent and part of the airline’s new fare structure. On March 18, Horizon replaced four flights between Bellingham and Seattle operated with Bombardier 37-seat Q200s with three flights flown with 74- to 76-seat Bombardier Q400s. On April 22, the remaining four Q200 flights will be replaced with three Q400 flights. This brings Horizon to a total of six daily Q400 flights.

More Regional Routes Added to Midwest Connect System
SkyWest (SKYW) adds Kansas City-Colorado Springs to its Midwest Connect system on July 1 with three roundtrips daily. In addition, Midwest Airlines (MEH) announced additional Kansas City-Madison, Wis. service, using SkyWest’s 50-seat CRJs. The two roundtrips each weekday and a total of three on weekends are in addition to connecting Madison-Kansas City service already offered by Midwest via Milwaukee.
The announcement is the next step in the continuing roll-out of Midwest's comprehensive 2007 strategic plan, which includes the addition of up to six new destinations and as many as 12 new routes. Additionally, on July 1, the airline will add daily flight frequency on two existing Midwest routes and retime service in both markets to accommodate the added frequency: Kansas City-Pittsburgh, increasing from one to two nonstop roundtrip flights. Kansas City-San Antonio, increasing from two to three nonstop roundtrip flights.
Midwest also announced equipment upgrades on all Milwaukee-Flint and Hartford flights, the latter of which will have added frequency. In addition, upgrades will go on most flights between Milwaukee and Green Bay and Wausau/Stevens Point
MEH Subsidiary SkyWay will use its 32-seat Dornier 328jets on two of the three roundtrips to Wausau/Stevens Point, upgrading the flights from a Beech 1900D beginning June 1. A month later Milwaukee-Flint will also get the 328 which is already flying on two of the four weekday roundtrips. Similarly, Milwaukee-Green Bay will get the small jet on all four of its roundtrips. Finally, Milwaukee-Hartford will be taken over by SkyWest as its 50-seat CRJs replace the smaller jet. The route is also getting a third daily roundtrip.

Pinnacle Involved in Runway Excursion
Pinnacle Airlines (PNCL) Flight 4712 operating between Minneapolis - St. Paul and Traverse City, Michigan experienced a runway incursion when its brakes failed on landing. The Northwest Airlink flight departed Minneapolis at 9:44 p.m. and landed in Traverse City at 12:43 a.m. The aircraft, a CRJ 200, was carrying a crew of three and 46 customers. Upon landing, the aircraft had no braking action and came to a stop off the end of the runway. There are no injuries reported to passengers or crew.

Pinnacle Replaces M&E Software
Continued expansion prompted Pinnacle Airlines to sign with Ramco, the global aviation maintenance & engineering (M&E) and maintenance, repair & overhaul (MRO) software provider, to license & deploy its maintenance & engineering software solution. It is replacing its existing M&E software to support maintenance and engineering requirements on its fleet of 137 regional jets.

Republic Sells NW Claim
Republic Airways (RJET) sold its $91 million pre-petition, unsecured creditor claim against Delta (DALRQ) for $44,590,000 in a deal that closed April 11. On March 27, 2007, The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved the Delta Connection Agreement between Delta Air Lines and Republic Airways Holdings subsidiaries, Chautauqua Airlines and Shuttle America.

United Reimburses Express Pax
United (UAUA) is reimbursing 110 passengers left stranded by United Express Shuttle America in Cheyenne, Wyo. during last December’s blizzards that closed Denver. United’s meager efforts to satisfy passengers, which included discount coupons, were greeted with derision. After a report in USA Today, the airline stepped up to the plate promising to reimburse the thousands spent on hotels and alternate transportation. However, letters offering compensation did not go out to all passengers, adding insult to injury. United is in the process of contacting all passengers now. The entire mess seems a textbook example of how not to treat passengers. This was the second incident for United Express. American Connection and United Express passengers, both flying Trans States aircraft, were left stranded at outlying airports after the flights were diverted from Denver during bad weather on February 8. Nearly 100 passengers were stranded in Scottsbluff, Neb, when crews left the passengers, from Madison, Wis. and St. Louis, behind about six hours after landing. Related Story
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