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Monday, May 26, 2008

Quick Takes – Porter, Midwest/NW, Embrear, BBD, Rockwell’s Helgeson, Pacific Wings Flight Safety

Porter Adjusts EWR Sked
As a result of FAA-imposed restrictions at Newark, Porter Airlines lost two weekly roundtrips forcing it to implement an updated schedule as of June 20 for its Toronto City Center Airport-Newark route. The new schedule is effective for the summer season and features six return flights every weekday, three return flights Saturday and five return flights Sunday. Total flights per week change to 38 from 40. Its daily roundtrips between Toronto and Newark will drop from seven to six but its Saturday schedule will go from two to three roundtrips while it Sunday schedule increases from three to five.
Porter is also adding one Toronto City Center Airport-Montreal return flight Monday through Friday during the busy afternoon period. This route increases to 10 return flights from nine every weekday. During the summer, there will be eight return flights every weekday, up from seven.
“We’re pleased that our discussions with the FAA have allowed Porter to do its part in reducing congestion while resulting in a Newark schedule that balances the needs of our weekday business travelers and provides more choice for the extremely popular weekend leisure flights,” said Robert Deluce, president and CEO. “In addition, we’re also in a position to improve our Montreal service at a time when passenger levels are growing substantially.”

Midwest, NW Extend Code Share
Midwest Airlines is extending its code-share agreement with Northwest Airlines, which has a minority stake in Midwest, to include nonstop Northwest routes from Indianapolis to Austin, Texas; Boston; Denver; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Ft. Myers, Fla.; Hartford, Conn.; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; and San Antonio. The new service more than doubles the existing code-share destinations served from Indianapolis.
Under the code-share agreement, passengers can book their entire flight on a single ticket, with all segments earning mileage credit in either the Midwest Miles or Northwest WorldPerks frequent flyer programs. Service between Indianapolis and Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Orlando, Fla.; San Francisco; Seattle/Tacoma; and Tampa, Fla. is already part of the code-share agreement. An earlier phase of the code share included Midwest service between Milwaukee and Kansas City to major West Coast cities, where passengers can connect to Northwest flights to points in Hawaii.
The code-share agreement between Midwest and Northwest is expected to greatly expand the networks of both carriers by adding 250 city pairs and more than 1,000 new flight options.
"In addition to offering travelers more options, the expansion of our code share with Northwest provides our customers the convenience of a single ticket transaction and the ability to earn miles in the awards program of their choice," said Scott R. Dickson, Midwest Airlines senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
"Indianapolis has long been an important focus market for Northwest Airlines so we are pleased to expand our growing partnership with Midwest and offer more convenience to our mutual customers," said Nathaniel Pieper, Northwest Airlines' vice president of alliances.

New M.E. Customer Takes ERJs
In a deal valued at $220.5 million, ETA Star Group, of Dubai signed for seven Embraer 170 jets to, with options for three more, and five purchase rights for any E-Jet model. The aircraft will be operated by the newly-created Star Aviation Pvt Ltd., of India. The deal could ultimately total $472.5 million, if all options and purchase rights are confirmed. Deliveries of the aircraft will begin in 2009. The aircraft will be configured to 76 passengers in a single-class layout and will have In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) with individual video monitors in each seat.
Based in the city of Chennai, south India, Star Aviation will use the aircraft to operate regional routes on the Indian subcontinent, serving medium- and low-density markets.

Régional Takes ERJ 170
Régional, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air France, signed a contract for two additional ERJ 170 jets, confirming options originally placed in August 2007. The value of the transaction, at list price, comes to $63 million. Both aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2009. The deal is already included in Embraer’s 2008 first quarter firm order backlog as undisclosed.
“This is great news for Embraer and a ringing endorsement of the E-Jets by the Air France/KLM Group,” said Mauro Kern, executive vice president, airline market. “It is especially gratifying to see our largest customer in Europe, once again, place its trust in the E-Jets family, as it further expands its network.”
The two new 170s, configured in a 76-seat single class layout, will join the seven 170s that Régional has on firm order, the first of which will be delivered this year. The company already operates six ERJ 190s and has another five aircraft on firm order. Currently, Régional operates a fleet of 48 Embraer aircraft (six 190s, 28 ERJ 145s, nine ERJ 135s and five EMB 120 Brasilia), making it the manufacturer’s largest customer in Europe.
“We are eager to receive our first ERJ 170, this year,” said Régional/Air France President and CEO Jean-Yves Grosse. “The operation of the ERJ 170 and the 190 in the same fleet will give us more flexibility, enabling us to right-size aircraft to meet route demand and ensure that we offer our passengers optimum comfort.”
Régional (Compagnie Aérienne Européenne) was created in March 2001 from the merger of three smaller French airlines – Flandre Air, Proteus Airlines, and Régional Airlines. The airline serves 46 cities: 20 in France and 26 in other European countries. Régional’s headquarters are located in Nantes, in the West of France. Its 62-member fleet (including 48 Embraer aircraft) is supported by two company-owned maintenance centers in Clermont-Ferrand and in Lille.

First Q400 to Croatia
Bombardier Aerospace delivered the first of four Q400 turboprop airliners ordered by Croatia Airlines of Zagreb, Croatia in a transaction announced last year. Croatia Airlines holds options on two additional Q400 aircraft.
"This begins a new era in the evolution of Croatia Airlines," said Executive Vice-President Maintenance and Engineering Vanja Roller in accepting the aircraft. "Our 76-seat Q400 aircraft will allow us to match capacity with demand on routes not suited to our larger jet aircraft. Because of the speed of the Q400 aircraft, we can also deploy it on longer routes with little additional flying time. And, of course, the Q400 aircraft has superb environmental credentials."
Bombardier Q400 aircraft firm orders today stand at 301 aircraft, with 190 delivered as of January 31, 2008. Croatia Airlines is the Croatian flag carrier and a Star Alliance member proving short and mid-range flights within Europe.

Rockwell’s Helgeson Retires
Rockwell Collins announced Denny Helgeson, vice president and general manager, Business and Regional Systems, will retire this fall and named Greg Irmen as his successor, effective immediately. Helgeson has served Rockwell Collins for more than 33 years and has worked in engineering, production operations, marketing and sales, program and product management, and strategy development. He has been the vice president and general manager of Business and Regional Systems since June 2002.
Irmen has 11 years of service with Rockwell Collins, with his most recent assignment as senior director, Boeing programs. Irmen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University, a Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of California, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Maryville University.
Helgeson will continue to report to Kelly Ortberg, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Commercial Systems, as vice president and general manager − special assistant until September. In this role, Helgeson will focus on the executive transition of the business and with customers.

Pacific Wings Incident Closes Kalaupapa
After a hard landing on the gravel runway by Pacific Wings aircraft at Kalaupapa Airport, the airport was closed for 24 hours as state and federal officials determined the runway’s safety. The airport is the lifeline to the tiny Hawaiian community which relies on it for everything from mail to medicine. After repairing the aircraft, Pacific Wings expressed frustration about the closure saying what took 24 hours could have been done much faster. The FAA declared the runway safe in order to get another Pacific Wings aircraft in with the parts to repair the damaged plane.

FlightSafety Provides Supplemental CRJ900 Next Gen Training
FlightSafety International will offer pilot training with its first CRJ900 NextGen aircraft flight simulator located in Canada as the result of a new pact between Flight Safety and Bombardier.
The CRJ900 NextGen aircraft simulator is located at FlightSafety's Learning Center adjacent to the Bombardier facility in Toronto. A launch ceremony, attended by Todd Young, Vice-President Customer Support, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft and Jim Waugh, Executive Vice-President, FlightSafety International, along with employees of both organizations, was held on May 13, 2008.
"FlightSafety will handle the pilot training that Bombardier's own simulators cannot accommodate because of the increasing number of CRJ900 NextGen aircraft orders and the subsequent growing requirement for training," said Todd Young, vice-president customer support, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
The CRJ900 NextGen aircraft simulator recently received Level D and STD1A-A3 qualification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA), respectively. It features FlightSafety's state-of-the-art VITAL visual system and electric motion and control loading technology. FlightSafety International is also the official provider of turboprop pilot training for Bombardier and offers courses on all Dash 8/Q-Series aircraft models.
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