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Monday, June 16, 2008

CommutAir Dodges Bullet

Despite earlier, erroneous reports by Regional Aviation News that CommutAir was facing massive capacity cuts resulting from this week’s detailing of Continental’s cuts, according to the airline, the carrier is not facing overall capacity cuts this fall, owing to redeployment of its aircraft to other routes.
In fact, given its reliance on turboprops, CommutAir may be part of the solution to the high costs of fuel consumption experienced by regional jets, especially the 50-seaters, which have been losing money since the run up in fuel costs began. Continental has already signaled its move to turboprops with the launch of Q400 service with Colgan at Newark which is experiencing no regional capacity cuts. In addition, Horizon is shedding its Bombardier CRJ 700s in favor of the Q400 for a single-aircraft fleet, and Frontier has replaced all its regional jet service with Lynx Aviation’s Q400.
Regional Aviation News apologizes for misunderstanding the situation.
Continental released details of the capacity cuts announced recently. It includes closing six stations served exclusively by regionals. Continental Express capacity will drop by 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter and between 5.4 percent and 7.4 percent in 2009 Related Story
The regional stations include Chattanooga, Green Bay, Montgomery, Palm Springs, Tallahassee (jet) and Toledo (prop). Continental is also closing It is also closing another nine stations including Oakland, Reno, and Sarasota, in addition to international stations at Bali, Indonesia; Cali, Colombia; Cologne, Germany; Santiago, Dominican Republic; Guayaquil, Ecuador; and Monclova, Mexico.
All but one – Cleveland-San Diego – of the Cleveland routes to be dropped are regional routes and include CLE-Austin, Birmingham, Charleston, S.C., Charleston, W. Va., Cincinnati, Des Moines, Detroit, Green Bay, Greensboro, N.C., Lexington, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ottawa, Canada, San Antonio, Sarasota, Savannah, Toledo, Tulsa, and Washington-Dulles. Continental serves these routes with a mix of airlines include ExpressJet and Chautauqua, as well as CommutAir.
Continental Express routes to be dropped include Houston Intercontinental – Chattanooga, Monclova, Mexico, Montgomery, Ala, Palm Springs, Sarasota, Tallahassee and Washington Dulles. Mainline service to Cali, Guayaquil, Hartford, Oakland and Reno will also be cut in September.
Albuquerque, N.M., Cologne, Germany, Santiago, Dominican Republic, Sarasota, Salt Lake City, San Jose, and Tucson.
The capacity reductions amount to an 11 percent decline in domestic mainline capacity in the fourth quarter, compared to the same period last year. The changes will result in a 6.4 percent decline in consolidated (mainline plus regional) capacity in the fourth quarter.
Houston Capacity will drop 7.9 percent to 11.208 billion available seat miles in the fourth quarter while Newark will see the smallest cut at 3.2 percent to 13.251 billion ASMs. Cleveland will see the largest mainland cut at 13.1 percent to 1.462 billion ASMs and Guam the largest cut at 21.5 percent to 799 billion ASMs.
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