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Monday, July 12, 2004

ASA Retiring More Than One-Third Of Its ATR-72 Fleet

Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) will retire seven of its 19 ATR-72s beginning in October to reduce maintenance, training and lease expenses.

The seven planes were leased in 2000 to provide additional capacity on routes out of Atlanta, said Company President Skip Barnette.

The decision will result in about 80 pilots being retrained to fly the carrier's Bombardier [BBD] CRJ 200s and CRJ 700s. The move will reduce slightly the number of new pilots ASA will be hiring next year, he added. Since April, the carrier has been hiring 20 new pilots per month. This rate had been projected to continue into 2005 as 25 new CRJ 200s are expected to be delivered.

While ASA will continue to fly 12 ATRs, Barnette said any decision to convert the carrier into an all-jet fleet would depend upon the routes Delta Air Lines [DAL] designs for the carrier. "It depends on what the network will look like and our role in the network," he said. Delta owns ASA.

The financially struggling Delta plans to submit a restructuring blueprint to its board next month. While the carrier will be looking at operations, including labor cost- cutting moves, it is unclear if Delta will restructure its routes or who flies those routes.

Of the remaining 12 ATRs, ASA owns four and leases the other eight. The leases expire in 2007.

Other aircraft deals:

  • Aeroflot will soon solicit an order for as many as 50 short-range regional jets, seating between 50 and 100 passengers. The joint venture project between Sukhoi and Boeing [BA] to build the Russian Regional Jet apparently will not have its plane in production in time to meet the order. Both Bombardier and Embraer [ERJ] are eligible to compete for the order.
  • Finnair has ordered 12 Embraer 170s for about $306 million. Deliveries of the 76-seat, single-class planes will begin in September 2005 and continue through May 2007. Finnair also has an option for eight additional aircraft. These options could be converted to either the Embraer 175 or the Embraer 190. The new planes will replace MD 80s and ATR-72s.
  • China's Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Co., a joint venture of Embraer, Harbin Aviation Industry Co. and Hafei Aviation Industry Co., delivered its first two ERJ 145s to China Southern Airlines. The largest airline in China - and the Chinese launch customer of the ERJ 145s - has ordered six planes.
  • Japan Air Commuter, a regional airline in the JAL Group, has ordered three more Q400s from Bombardier, which will be delivered next year. The airline already flies three Q400s.

>>Contact: Skip Barnette, ASA, (404) 766-1400; Embraer, (954) 232-9560.<<


Embraer's 2004 Deliveries
Aircraft 2nd Q 2004
ERJ 145
Embraer 170
Total Airline Aircraft Delivered
Source: Company reports
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