avi8
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What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:06 am

So every time I fly to a major airport I see dozens of ERJs, CR200s, etc. and it makes me wonder how airlines plan to replace those high cost aircraft. Some airlines have close to 500 of them and seem to be doing very little to replace them. DL is taking delivery of the 717's and ordered a few CR9s, however other airlines have not ordered any new aircraft to replace them. The ERJ may be very efficient capacity wise but it is not fuel-efficient and is pretty much a lousy experience for any passenger in my opinion. I hope a new regional plane is introduced and that many airlines order it.

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MesaFlyGuy
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:31 am

I don't know what some airlines are doing, but I do have respectfully disagree with you about the ERJs. My opinion is my opinion, but I find the ERJs very fun to fly on. Much more comfortable than the CRJ-200 and certainly better looking.
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flyinggoat
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:51 am

I don't think there will be a jet replacement for the CRJ or ERJ. Airlines will do one of the following:

-Switch to prop aircraft.
-Lower frequencies and use 70+ seat jet aircraft.
-Increase prices.
-Drop service altogether.

I'd take an ERJ over any CRJ any day.
 
adam42185
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:59 am

Quoting FlyingGoat (Reply 2):
-Lower frequencies and use 70+ seat jet aircraft.

   I think this is what we'll see the most of. Not only are the smaller jets less efficient, but thinking 5-10 years down the road, if there is indeed a pilot shortage on the horizon, airline will be forced to use larger planes with lower frequency due to staffing restrictions as well as product availability. It seems the days of new regional jets with fewer than 70 or so seats are a thing of the past. Turboprops will certainly be used more on shorter hops, but I believe it will be bigger planes lower frequency on most of the route regional jets fly now.
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:18 am

The costs are barely higher and seat costs much lower, I suspect most will go up to 70-90 seaters with some drop in frequency, whilst the rest are replaced by props.


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m404
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:52 am

I don't remember the number but you mentioned DL as having such a large number of CR200. True, but they are dumping them as fast as contracts will allow. Something like 88 to 125 by years end? More 70 seaters without a doubt but I think their contract or owned regionals will shrink along with the large stock of -200s. Watch Pinnacle for previews of things to come. Soome airports that have a large number of smaller ones will see service stopped, decreased, or lesser flights. Money runs the ball game and anything not making a prescribed profit margin is on the block. Forget sympathetic histories. Get ready for news on this subject.

[Edited 2013-04-26 23:01:17]
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:50 pm

DL plans to begin the reduction in 50 seat RJs in ernest beginning this year. They plan to remove 40 by the end of 2013, with a plan in place to get down to 125 over the next 3 years. This is being accomplished through the 717 acquistion and additional 76 seat RJs
 
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:35 pm

The problem with replacing 50 seat RJs with props is the lack of options. The ATR42 has not been popular recently compared to its bigger brother for the same reason that the big RJs have been more successful than the small ones- it shares similar operating costs with reduced capacity. There is a rather glaring capacity hole below the ATR72, and it is unclear whether any airframe manufacturer will find it profitable to plug.
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MIflyer12
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:02 pm

We can expect that a number of airports that have scheduled commercial service will lose it. A CR7 or E70 may be cheaper than a CRJ-200 on a seat-mile basis, but they're not cheaper on a trip basis, and some routes just don't need the extra capacity. We've seen that a lot of ex-NW SF3 destinations couldn't keep CR2 service.
 
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:14 pm

Quoting MIflyer12 (Reply 8):
We've seen that a lot of ex-NW SF3 destinations couldn't keep CR2 service.

And then quite a few of those cities have back filled with third party 19 or 30 seat turboprops. Really, there needs to be a replacement for the B1900/E120/Dash 8-1/2/Dornier 328.

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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:50 am

AM is replacing its ERJ-145 fleet with 2-class, 76-pax E-170s.
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BMED
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:29 am

I wondered this about Loganair in UK who operate an aging fleet of Saab 340s and what they will be able to replace them with as large aircraft won't suit their network.
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:49 am

Quoting BMED (Reply 11):

I wondered this about Loganair in UK who operate an aging fleet of Saab 340s and what they will be able to replace them with as large aircraft won't suit their network.

The need for a Saab 340 replacement was one of the reasons why they purchased Scot/Suckling Airways with their fleet of Do 328s.


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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:02 am

Quoting mesaflyguy (Reply 1):
I don't know what some airlines are doing, but I do have respectfully disagree with you about the ERJs. My opinion is my opinion, but I find the ERJs very fun to fly on. Much more comfortable than the CRJ-200 and certainly better looking.

I second that opinion. I've found the starboard side of an ERJ to be slightly more comfortable than either side of a CRJ and the port side of an ERJ is my favorite flying location of all. Where else outside of a private jet can you travel in an airplane seat that is both a window and an aisle seat in one?
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yp6370
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:09 am

Another option to replace RJs: Upgauge.
QF transferred some regional routes to Jetstar. So a former DH8 route is now flown by A320.
LH is doing it right now. Air Dolomiti will get rid of their entire ATR fleet. So all routes will be flown by EMB190/195. LH itself wants the CR9 as smallest aircraft in its fleet (LH Cityline/Germanwings).
So either they can sell substantially more tickets on those flights or reduce frequency. I am really curious how it works especially for Air Dolomiti in the near future. And if it probably means to abandon some regional markets.
 
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:48 am

Quoting doug_Or (Reply 7):
There is a rather glaring capacity hole below the ATR72, and it is unclear whether any airframe manufacturer will find it profitable to plug.

And, to reinforce the point, attempts to re-start production of smaller aircraft (such as the RUAG Do228NG) don't appear to be getting significant commercial traction.

Assuming that the ATR72 is the cheapest way of hauling less than 100 passengers a short distance (is there anything else with a lower CASM?), is there a market opportunity for an ATR72 based Ryanair/Easyjet/Spirit-alike (low costs, low frills) operating short flights? this could use low fares to stimulate the market and fill the relatively large ATR72.
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:06 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 9):
And then quite a few of those cities have back filled with third party 19 or 30 seat turboprops. Really, there needs to be a replacement for the B1900/E120/Dash 8-1/2/Dornier 328.

-DiamondFlyer

What airports were you thinking of? (Other than EAS cities where the rigors of supply & demand don't apply.)
 
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:26 am

Quoting GCT64 (Reply 15):
Assuming that the ATR72 is the cheapest way of hauling less than 100 passengers a short distance (is there anything else with a lower CASM?),

An electric car or an electric train. The AT7's economics on very short routes is highly impressive.

Quoting GCT64 (Reply 15):
And, to reinforce the point, attempts to re-start production of smaller aircraft (such as the RUAG Do228NG) don't appear to be getting significant commercial traction.

The problem there is the second hand market. You can pick up a good second hand J31 for peanuts, so the current 19 seaters in production have to chase the STOL market. Trouble is that these markets generally don't have huge margins, so carriers are more likely to opt for cheaper second hand models. The cycle will break at some point, and more orders for the Do 228 will be forthcoming.


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par13del
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:24 pm

In the USA I think the key is Regional Carriers, as in investors setting up Regional Airlines to cater to pax in their regions versus setting up carriers tied to legacy carriers to assist them in lowering their flight cost profit margins.

Until someone actually operates these a/c for "themselves" the true cost are buried in legacy books and contracts.
 
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:40 pm

Air service dynamics for smaller markets in the United States is changing for several reasons:

1. The cost of providing service has rendered much of it uneconomical at the price points necessary to break even, or earn a modest profit. (Fuel, labor, aircraft ownership costs, overhead)

2. The United States population is increasingly moving more toward larger cities, many smaller, isolated communities are no longer as vibrant and viable as they were in past decades. The population is getting "older", high-paying jobs (manufacturing) has vacated many of these smaller isolated communities, so naturally the demand for air service is not what it used to be, particulary at the fare levels needed to sustain service

3. Cost/Convenience/Connections/Perception are causing many to drive 1-2-3 hours to a major airport instead of using a smaller airport. Often this is due to lower fares or schedule/destinations, but it is very common for leisure travels to begin the first leg of their journey in the automobile.
 
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:51 pm

So we are returning to the 1980s?  

One thing that has not been mentioned here is the pilot shortage in the US.

It is already be felt on the regional level where pilots at crappy airlines are being paid signing bonuses just to attend class.

New pilot requirements with higher hours in effect
Skyrocketing cost of training post 9/11 due to security costs, insurance costs, and (the big one) fuel costs
Well publicized pilot compensation givebacks post 9/11

The result is a generation of pilots lost. There are few coming, and fewer training.

As majors drain the regionals of pilots over the next several years, regionals will have a hard time staffing what they already have.
 
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par13del
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:00 pm

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 20):
So we are returning to the 1980s?

We think the experiment of the legacies taking over the regionals and using them to lower their flight cost and ultimately change the industry was for the better?
Maybe the jury is still out, certainely the legaices have killed off a couple of their offspring, others are in the works, and still the basic problem preventing their vision of the industry still remains, scope.

Now for the folks living in these smaller regions with no major hubs within a couple hours drive their cost of service is dependent on items not within their sphere of influence, jury is out on whether that's good or bad in the long run.

If the high speed rails folks were not just as greedy, alternatives could seriously be looked at.
 
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:01 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 9):
Really, there needs to be a replacement for the B1900/E120/Dash 8-1/2/Dornier 328.

Read PSU.DTW.SCE's post on how small airports are becoming less viable. My parents recently drove 3 hours each way from/to ATL in a rental car as the connecting flights price was ridiculous. The added expenses the TSA has imposed on air travel has really hurt the sub 250nm market. The very market for those aircraft.

Quoting DTW.SCE" class="quote" target="_blank">PSU.DTW.SCE (Reply 19):
Cost/Convenience/Connections/Perception are causing many to drive 1-2-3 hours to a major airport instead of using a smaller airport. Often this is due to lower fares or schedule/destinations, but it is very common for leisure travels to begin the first leg of their journey in the automobile.

Or last.

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 20):
One thing that has not been mentioned here is the pilot shortage in the US.

Not seeing it yet. It simply isn't a factor.

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 20):
regionals will have a hard time staffing what they already have.

As pilots are going to foreign airlines that pay better.

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 20):
It is already be felt on the regional level where pilots at crappy airlines are being paid signing bonuses just to attend class.

Link? I haven't heard of this. And it had better be more than a few hundred dollar 'scholarship' that doesn't even pay the full fees...

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 20):
The result is a generation of pilots lost. There are few coming, and fewer training.

The military is downsizing. That will provide plenty of pilots.

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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:06 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 22):
The military is downsizing. That will provide plenty of pilots.

For the legacy carriers mainline fleet, the regional market will only see these pilots after they have insufficient jobs at the legacy and are willing to work for regional pay.

Military jobs today have pay scales in competition with the civilian market, and with their retirement / pension benefits, the options exist to work for less or not work at all.

Time is the major factor here.
 
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:24 pm

Quoting par13del (Reply 21):
We think the experiment of the legacies taking over the regionals and using them to lower their flight cost and ultimately change the industry was for the better?
Maybe the jury is still out, certainely the legaices have killed off a couple of their offspring, others are in the works, and still the basic problem preventing their vision of the industry still remains, scope.

Legacies did not purposely kill-off air service into smaller markets. A variety of economic conditions and perceptions have made it uneconomical. If it were viable and economical and legacy-level cost structure, they would serve it.

The problem is simply demand levels at the price necessary to provide such service. These smaller communities cannot just support service in isolation, it needs to be connected to a network carrier.

There are a few opportunities for small niche service where there, but that often manifests itself as scheduled charter service or always operates like private jet / on-demand service.

Quoting par13del (Reply 21):
Now for the folks living in these smaller regions with no major hubs within a couple hours drive their cost of service is dependent on items not within their sphere of influence, jury is out on whether that's good or bad in the long run.

It is at the point now, where it really is one factor to take into consideration where people live. If you live in remote regions, you are not going to have good access to air service, or all of the other ammenities that big cities and what a large population center can support.

In many cases, these remote areas have a lower cost of living, lower wages, and less variety of services. Some people purposely go to those areas just for that alone. Lower wages and a weak economy do not lend itself to a lot of air service, as the demand just is not there.

Quoting par13del (Reply 21):
If the high speed rails folks were not just as greedy, alternatives could seriously be looked at.

High speed rail is not a viable option for small, or even mid-sized communities. It only is good for connecting large population centers, and also really only makes sense where you do not need an automobile for transportation at your destination.
 
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:35 pm

Quoting MIflyer12 (Reply 16):
What airports were you thinking of? (Other than EAS cities where the rigors of supply & demand don't apply.)

Mostly EAS, but it's a right sizing of EAS, in my opinion. Quite frankly, if there was an affordable airplane to connect these small cities to the hubs and the majors were willing to interline the passengers, my belief is that you would see many more of these small cities getting service with a 402, PA-31 or 208. But, it seems that the major airlines put up huge obstacles to interlining/code sharing on these routes, which is a barrier to entry for the little guys without billions in capital to use.

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 22):
Read PSU.DTW.SCE's post on how small airports are becoming less viable.

They're less viable because there isn't a good airplane to use, which majors will interline/codeshare with.

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 22):
The military is downsizing. That will provide plenty of pilots.

No it won't. Have you seen the projected retirement numbers for just one airline? Just Delta, in the next 10 years and 8 months, have 5600 pilots who will retire on age. There aren't that many pilots in the military to retire and go into airline flying. That 5600 is just Delta. Additionally, the majors will draw a big number of pilots from regional, which will then look to back fill, and you can bet your bottom dollar and O-3 or higher isn't going to leave the military to take a $22,000/year job.

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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:11 pm

Quoting par13del (Reply 23):
Military jobs today have pay scales in competition with the civilian market, and with their retirement / pension benefits, the options exist to work for less or not work at all.

Time is the major factor here.

I've heard about the coming 'pilot shortage' on a.net my whole membership. Will it happen? Eventually. But right now I know more than a few military pilots working on 'plan B due to the budget cuts.' For example, you're aware that the F-16s being brought back from the gulf are being parked instead of overhauled? Until there is budget for overhaul, the AirForce will require fewer pilots. Even regionals are being considered as alternatives.

And a military pension is called 'half pay' for a reason. And most do not want to be on veteran medical...

Quoting PSU.DTW.SCE (Reply 24):
A variety of economic conditions and perceptions have made it uneconomical. If it were viable and economical and legacy-level cost structure, they would serve it.

   Airlines *like* to serve markets.

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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:28 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 22):

Link? I haven't heard of this. And it had better be more than a few hundred dollar 'scholarship' that doesn't even pay the full fees...

My airline, as well as at least one other regional are offering signing bonuses of $5,000 with talk of it going even higher. My airline also has entered into multiple agreements, one with WMU, to provide tuition assistance or something like that. Many regionals out there are getting desperate for pilots already.
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:37 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 22):

Link? I haven't heard of this. And it had better be more than a few hundred dollar 'scholarship' that doesn't even pay the full fees...

Also, Eagle has a program where they interview low time, unqualified for 121 operations, then place them at a high volume flight school, flight instruct until they are ATP qualified, and get travel benefits as if they were flying for the airline, while CFI'ing.

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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:02 pm

Quoting Acey559 (Reply 27):
My airline, as well as at least one other regional are offering signing bonuses of $5,000 with talk of it going even higher. My airline also has entered into multiple agreements, one with WMU, to provide tuition assistance or something like that. Many regionals out there are getting desperate for pilots already.
Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 29):
Also, Eagle has a program where they interview low time, unqualified for 121 operations, then place them at a high volume flight school, flight instruct until they are ATP qualified, and get travel benefits as if they were flying for the airline, while CFI'ing.

Gentlemen, do you have a link? This is the first evidence of a 'pilot shortage' since 2001!    But I've been told this before only to find out it was a 3-month blip that went away... Good news as I know more than a few pilots with ATPs who would like to get back into the air, they just have families so are unwilling to take the 'initiation pay cut.'

However, India has 5,000 commercial pilots looking for work and there is political pressure to push the western pilots out:
http://www.business-standard.com/art...ine-for-expats-113042300514_1.html

But this doesn't address a major set of issues for the regionals:
1. Too many 50-seat RJs releative to demand
2. Thus RJ vendors must bid at or fractionally *below* costs
3. Thus RJ vendors offer poor salaries.

The switch to a smaller number of 86 seat RJs

I see (from airline pilot central) that Mesa, Transstates, American Eagle, Expressjet, Pinnacle, Republic (with signing bonus), and I see United is hiring 50 pilots/month and in October American will hire as will Delta in 'late 2013.' Jetblue is also hiring, but with a closed application window. So there is opportunity. But a shortage?    Not in my opinion. There are too many thousands of pilots on the sidelines for that. Demanding real pay (or at least less debt for entry).   

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flyby519
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:04 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 22):
Not seeing it yet. It simply isn't a factor.

I dont think we will see a traditional panic type scenario where regionals are crying because there arent any pilots. That would only give leverage to union groups at mainline and regional levels to bargain for much higher wages/benefits.

Instead I think we will see a continued net reduction in regional pilot numbers through the upgauging of aircraft to 70-76+ seaters. This will mitigate any pilot shortage for the time being. Small communities will conitinue to lose service.

Eventually the airlines will get to a point where they have trimmed the fat in their systems and still wont find enough pilots to fly the existing 70+ seaters for drastically reduced regional airline wages. My guess is that legacy managements will then "allow" the mainline labor groups to re-capture that regional aircraft flying in exchange for a new C-scale type pay at mainline carriers.

At that point, you can wash, rinse, repeat process of the past decade of trading scope for pay increases all over again.

[Edited 2013-04-29 12:06:17]
 
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par13del
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:30 pm

Quoting PSU.DTW.SCE (Reply 24):
The problem is simply demand levels at the price necessary to provide such service.

The price point that the legacy carrier's require the customer to pay for their service is definately not there, now whether someone else can provide an alternative is something else.

Quoting PSU.DTW.SCE (Reply 24):
These smaller communities cannot just support service in isolation, it needs to be connected to a network carrier.

Also something that could be debated, no doubt that the market has been setup to mandate connection to a network carrier.
 
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Acey559
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:36 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 30):

Standby, I know there are links out there but I'm having trouble finding then on my phone. I'll post them as I find them.

Edit: Here's the link for the bonus.
http://americaneaglecareers.com/Jobs/Pilots.html

[Edited 2013-04-29 12:38:55]
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lightsaber
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:43 pm

Quoting Acey559 (Reply 33):
Standby, I know there are links out there but I'm having trouble finding then on my phone. I'll post them as I find them.

No rush. I'm patient. Its good news. I dislike seeing a well training profession earning too little. (Yes, I dislike doctor intern salaries too...)

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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:58 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 33):

I agree, intern salaries and weekly schedules are awful.
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:48 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 29):
Gentlemen, do you have a link? This is the first evidence of a 'pilot shortage' since 2001! But I've been told this before only to find out it was a 3-month blip that went away... Good news as I know more than a few pilots with ATPs who would like to get back into the air, they just have families so are unwilling to take the 'initiation pay cut.'

Here is some more on their CFI to airline path. It's too little, too late for the airline to fill their gaps, IMO.
http://www.airlineapps.com/home/news/company/0135.asp

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lightsaber
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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:17 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 35):
Here is some more on their CFI to airline path. It's too little, too late for the airline to fill their gaps, IMO.

Interesting. So basically this adds medical and dental to a pilot earning very little as an instructor? (Note I'm asking.)


It doesn't seem like a panic yet...

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RE: What Will Airlines Do To Replace Regional Planes?

Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:30 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 29):
But this doesn't address a major set of issues for the regionals:
1. Too many 50-seat RJs releative to demand
2. Thus RJ vendors must bid at or fractionally *below* costs
3. Thus RJ vendors offer poor salaries.

#3 existed when 50 seaters were in demand and the regionals were printing money. They pay as little as they can get away with, not what they can afford.
When in doubt, one B pump off

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