Air Transport World

US nationals. (ATW's World Airline Report).(smaller US airlines)

AIRTRAN: It was another year of growth and expansion for AirTran Airways in 2002 as its fleet increased by five aircraft, its traffic rose 23.9% and capacity climbed 26.3%. It posted a $10.7 million net profit for the year, boosted by a $7.5 million profit in the fourth quarter. The annual result was down from net income of $21.7 million in 2001, but nonrecurring items turned the 2001 outcome into a net loss of $2.8 million. The solid performance has continued this year as evidenced by a $2 million net profit in the first quarter, the airline's fourth consecutive profitable quarter.

Driven primarily by the addition of 717s to its fleet, the carrier has been able to lower its unit costs. In 2002 CASM improved 8.8% to 8.5 cents and in the 2003 first quarter unit costs declined 4.3% to 8.63 cents despite a 23.1% increase in fuel cost.

In November the airline launched a regional jet operation, AirTran JetConnect, designed to feed its mainline operation. Initially the new business, operated by Air Wisconsin using 50-seat CRJs, serves Greensboro, Pensacola and Savannah from AirTran's hub at Atlanta.

The airline also began a westward expansion, launching flights between Atlanta and Denver this May. It planned to begin Atlanta-Los Angeles and AtlantaLas Vegas flights in June.

AIR WISCONSIN: Previously linked through marketing agreements with United Airlines, last November Air Wisconsin added service feeding AirTran. The carrier serves United's hubs at Chicago O'Hare, Denver, Washington Dulles and Los Angeles and AirTran's hub at Atlanta. It operates seven CRJs for AirTran and expects to increase the total to 11 by year end. Air Wisconsin will receive 26 CRJs this year and retire its remaining turboprops, giving it an all-jet fleet, said CEO Geoff Crowley.

ALOHA AIRLINES: Late in 2002, the carrier received conditional approval from the Air Transportation Stabilization Board for a $40.5 million federal guarantee on a $45 million loan. ATSB said Aloha provided a "reasonable assurance" that it will be able to repay the loan but some board members also noted the airline's role in the "unique Hawaiian aviation market." It completed the loan in March.

The carrier continued to grow last year, launching nonstop service between Honolulu and Rarotonga and between Burbank and Maui. It also added Orange County-Kona and Reno-Honolulu service and inked a new interline ticketing agreement with American Airlines.

ATLANTIC SOUTHEAST AIRLINES: The wholly-owned Delta Air Lines subsidiary operates more than 700 daily flights from Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth to 99 airports in 27 states, Canada and Mexico. "We like to think of ourselves as a small, efficient Delta," says CEO Skip Barnette. …

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