Monthly Archives: February 2010

American Eagle to add First Class on Bombardier CRJ700s

American Eagle Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth), the regional affiliate of American Airlines, will soon begin First Class service on all of its 25 CRJ700 (CL-600-2C10) regional jets. With the introduction of nine First Class seats, Eagle will offer its customers a premium product with the same level of service on American Airlines. Customers may now purchase a First Class seat on any CRJ700 flight for travel starting July 2.

American Eagle will offer First Class service from its Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) hubs. From Chicago, customers will experience First Class service on flights to Atlanta, Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., Newark, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Oklahoma City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Salt Lake City. From DFW, customers can fly First Class to Cleveland, Milwaukee, Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Bentonville/Springdale, AR., and Little Rock.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Bombardier CRJ700 (CL-600-2C10) N520DC (msn 10140) arrives at Washington (Reagan National).

Astraeus to operate Boeing 757-2Q8 G-STRX for AeroSur

Copyright Photo: Gordon Stretch. Boeing 757-2Q8 G-STRX (msn 25621) departed from East Midlands on February 25 bound for Miami after titles were added.

Astraeus Airlines (London-Gatwick) is going to operate its Boeing 757-2Q8 G-STRX (msn 25621) (previously operated for bmi) for AeroSur (Bolivia) (Santa Cruz).

Air Maleo to start cargo operations in West Papua, Indonesia

Air Maleo is a new airline in West Papua in the eastern portion of Indonesia. According to Flightglobal the company has acquired three Fokker F.27 Mk. 600 freighters from Empire Airlines (Coeur d’Alene) and hopes to commence operations in mid March.

Full article:

Happy Air plies the friendly skies of southern Thailand

Copyright Photo: Wim Callaert. The sole SAAB 340A (HS-HPY) arrives back at the HKT base.

Happy Air (Phuket) is a new airline which started scheduled operations in late Happy Air (Phuket) is a new airline which started scheduled operations on October 31, 2009 with this single SAAB 340A registered with the appropriate registration of HS-HPY (msn 115). The company flies from the Phuket base to Hatyai/Genting and Langkawi in southern Thailand and Malaysia.

BoraJet soon to start operations in Turkey

Copyright Photo: Mustafa Sancar. ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) TC-YAD (msn 702) is ready to start operations from its IST base.

BoraJet (Istanbul) which took delivery of its first ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) now has three (TC-YAB, TC-YAC and TC-YAD) awaiting authority to commence operations. The new airline plans to serve smaller airports.

Midwest Airlines to add both Columbus, OH and New Orleans from Kansas City

Midwest Airlines (Milwaukee) today (February 25) announced the launch of nonstop service between Kansas City and both Columbus, OH and New Orleans.

Nonstop service to Columbus begins on May 3, 2010. New nonstops to New Orleans begins on May 20.

The branded service to Columbus will be provided by 99-seat Embraer ERJ 190 aircraft and service to New Orleans will be provided by 76-seat Embraer ERJ 170 aircraft both operated by Republic Airlines (2nd). Midwest Airlines is no longer an airline, only a brand.

Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker. Republic Airlines’ (2nd) Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW N162HL (msn 19000231) arrives at Seattle/Tacoma in Midwest Airlines colors while operating a Frontier Airlines (2nd) flight!

Republic signs a purchase agreement for 40 Bombardier CS300 jets

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Indianapolis) announced today (February 25) it has signed a purchase agreement for 40 CS300 jets, part of the next-generation CSeries aircraft being developed by Bombardier. This makes Republic the North American launch customer. Republic also has options for up to an additional 40 aircraft. The aircraft, which will be configured in a single-cabin, with two-by-three seating for 138 passengers, including 25 STRETCH seats, is scheduled for delivery beginning in the second quarter of 2015.

The aircraft are powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines. Republic has signed an exclusive 15-year PureSolution maintenance contract with Pratt & Whitney for the support of the engines.

Republic did not specify which airline would operate the aircraft. Republic Airways Holdings is an airline holding company that owns Chautauqua Airlines, Frontier Airlines (2nd), Lynx Aviation, Midwest Airlines, Republic Airlines (2nd) and Shuttle America,

The end of Air Jamaica is near

Air Jamaica (Kingston) may be shut down for good on or around July 1 if a proposed deal with Caribbean Airlines (Port of Spain) to take over the JM routes can be signed before March 31. The non-binding agreement, if signed, will make Caribbean the exclusive flag carrier of Jamaica. Caribbean will take over the JM routes on or around July 1.

New link:

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best. Retired in October 2007, Airbus A340-313X 6Y-JMP (msn 257) displays the colorful 1996 livery on final approach to London (Heathrow). Watch for a special AG salute to JM in the coming months.

Republic Airways Holdings reports 4Q and 2009 financial results

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Indianapolis) yesterday (February 24) reported net income of $20.1 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2009, compared to $19.0 million of net income, for the same period last year. The fourth quarter results for 2009 include $109.2 million of goodwill and other impairment charges and a $203.7 million gain on bargain purchase related to the acquisition of Frontier Airlines. These two non-recurring items increased pre-tax income by $94.5 million and net income by $17.1 million for the quarter. Additionally, the Company recorded a year-end tax adjustment, which increased net income by $2.1 million for the quarter. Excluding these non-recurring items, income before taxes was $1.5 million and net income was $0.9 million.

For the full year ended December 31, 2009, net income for the year was $39.7 million, compared to $84.6 million of net income.

During the quarter the Company acquired Frontier Airlines and its 62 operational aircraft. The Company also took delivery of six of the ten Embraer ERJ 190 aircraft purchased from US Airways during the quarter and removed the final six Boeing 717-200 aircraft from its fleet, bringing the total operational fleet from 228 aircraft at September 30, 2009 to 290 aircraft at December 31, 2009.

Copyright Photo: Operated by subsidiary Republic Airlines (2nd) as a spare aircraft but carrying Republic Airways titles, Embraer ERJ 170-100SU N821MD (msn 17000042) climbs away from runway 27R at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner

Joel Chusid, Guest Editor

Guest Editor

Critters on Board

Birds can do serious damage to an airplane, but in this case the impact came from the inside. After 123 passengers had boarded a Korean Air domestic flight a few months ago, a sparrow entered the cabin through an open door and began fluttering about. Passengers had to deplane and change airplanes while the bird was captured and set free. Egyptair had a different problem when on a flight from Abu Dhabi to Cairo a baby crocodile escaped from a passenger’s carry-on bag. Passengers panicked until a crew member was able to retrieve the animal which no one would claim, since the transport of exotic fauna into Egypt would have landed someone in a heap of trouble.  The croc was given to the Cairo Zoo.   Don’t assume this only happens in Asia or Africa.  Last December otters being unloaded from a Continental Express regional jet at Houston escaped their cages and caused the flight to be delayed.  While it wasn’t funny at the time, passengers had a good story for their next cocktail party, although some reported that the otters had somehow managed to get into some of their luggage and do some rummaging. AP reported on a passenger bitten by a scorpion on a Southwest Airlines flight in Arizona which had somehow gotten into his carry-on bag. Luckily he wasn’t seriously hurt. Last summer, JFK’s Runway 4L/22R had to be briefly closed because of a swarm of turtles that emerged from the adjacent swamp, resulting in delays. Animals and airplanes are just going to have to learn how to coexist!

Face Lifts for Miles

One of the most coveted awards some airlines used to offer was a cockpit simulator ride for frequent flyers. The thrill of the cockpit was just so tantalizing for road warriors who are relegated to the passenger cabin.  Leave it to the Finns, however, to come up with an innovative way to redeem frequent flyer miles. Members of Finnair Plus can now redeem miles for plastic surgery at a hospital in Helsinki. The award levels are steep, with a set of new breasts costing 3.18 million miles, which would take 120 Business Class round trips between New York and Helsinki. Hair replacement (3.2 million miles) and face lift (4.64 million miles) surgery are also offered, and the airline reports it is in discussion to offer other medical awards as well. Publicity stunt or for real? ( There are plenty of frequent flyers out there, mileage rich, looking for new ways to spend their flight currency rather than for another flight or even an upgrade. The Finnair site looks like an online shopping mall – or just take a look at The variety is endless.

The Tefillin Incident

In what has become known as “The Tefillin Incident” which sounds like the name of a spy thriller, a US Airways Express regional jet flight en route early one morning from New York’s La Guardia Airport to Louisville was diverted to Philadelphia when an alarmed passenger noticed a young man tying strange black boxes on his head and arm.  The crew, and apparently none of the 15 passengers, having ever witnessed this before, became alarmed and chose to divert. Understandably with the shoe bomber and the more recent “underwear bomber” having made news, no one can fault the crew for being overly cautious. The Orthodox Jewish passenger was using tefillin, also called phylacteries, which contain holy scrolls and are attached by thin leather straps to the arm and forehead. Their use is a daily ritual with prayer to be accomplished within a few hours of sunrise. The flight had left in the dark early morning hours, was not very full, so the young man proceeded to fulfill his religious obligation. Upon arrival in Philadelphia, a brief handcuffing and interrogation by police occurred, and the flight and everyone was allowed to proceed. But it amazes me that no one on that airplane had ever seen this before.

Door to Nowhere

What is it of late, with passengers opening doors on airplanes on their own? A passenger on a Pinnacle Airlines flight tried to open a door as the regional jet was taxiing at the Lansing Airport in preparation for takeoff to Detroit, a flight of maybe 30 minutes or so. The airline reported the man had a panic attack, and while he was arrested, one can empathize with his situation. Still, passengers were delayed three hours.  An American Airlines flight landed at DFW Airport from Charlotte, NC and during its taxi to the terminal, a passenger, concerned about his tight connection, bolted into First Class, opened the galley door, slid down the deployed slide and strode over to Terminal C where fleet service clerks were able to detain him. I doubt he made his connection.

Airport Makes the Big Time

Some years ago I shared the podium with the late Senator Edward Kennedy and Massachusetts officials at the Worcester Airport to announce American Eagle service to New York’s JFK Airport. At the time, Delta Connection was also flying to Atlanta, and the group was elated that someone had discovered an alternative to Boston’s busy Logan Airport, MASSPORT’s other airport, for regional air service.  Unfortunately, the service never succeeded and Worcester was relegated to one of those airports that lost all scheduled air service. Well, Worcester Airport has found fame, although it’s in a Hollywood film, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, tentatively set to be released later this year. Filming was done last September. The movie was code-named “Wichita”, and alas, Worcester had to masquerade as the Mid-Continent Airport in the city of the same name.

Flying High, on Skis

In the sporting spirit of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Dusseldorf Airport claims to have opened the first airport ski jump, one week before the games. Eddie the Eagle, of Olympics past, was scheduled to open the jump, located right in the check-in hall as part of an industry travel show. Speaking of frozen matter, a couple in was stunned when a 40 pound chunk of ice from an unidentified airplane smashed through their roof. I just hope the ice wasn’t blue. The fact that the airplane was on its descent, as opposed to takeoff, leads me to believe it might have been. Yuk.

Joel Chusid has spent a lifetime in the world of airlines, as an executive at both an American domestic carrier and two Asian airlines. He is Chairman of the Association of Travel Marketing Executives. Joel’s perspectives on the industry reflect his experience and sense of humor. Enjoy this light look at an industry that’s forever changing.

Note: Joel welcomes articles in the same vein as the column! Send them to him at