Air Transport World

Hold that order! (commuter airline traffic may not support new orders for aircraft)

In the current dismal economic climate, it's difficult to fathom how the U.S. regional-airline business will be able to absorb a $10.6 billion order book for 1,598 turboprop aircraft and $21 billion worth of regional jets. Granted, the backlog includes as many options as orders but can this industry segment, which historically has been undercapitalized, support even 700 $8-16 million aircraft? A number of industry analysts doubt it.

For instance "re gional airlines have committed themselves to growth that is not sustainable in today's environment," says jim Walker of MCC Chemcial.

"We are seeing a lot of delivery deferrals," says Rick Wells, Avitas, inc. director of aircraft evaluations. …

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