Air Transport World

For CommutAir, small is good.(PROFILE)(John Sullivan)

It is not without a sense of satisfaction that John Sullivan has watched the price of oil creep up to $100 a barrel. For the chairman and CEO of CommutAir, the continued escalation of fuel costs further validates his decision to remain a turboprop operator.

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Those who prematurely wrote the obituary for turboprops may want to take another look, Sullivan suggests. In the early 1990s when there was a stampede among regional airlines to embrace the new regional jets, CommutAir remained on the sidelines, opting to stay in its niche. "It just looked less crowded there," he told ATW during a recent interview at his home in Palm Beach. "It's as simple as that. We had always enjoyed a very high rate of profitability with the small turboprop."

Early in his career, Sullivan worked at Brockway Air, a commuter airline that operated in the Northeast. Brockway was bought by Metro Airlines in 1989 and began a new codeshare partnership with TWA. But Metro filed for bankruptcy in 1991. It was a turbulent period as commuters aligned themselves with various partners, were bought, were sold or were merged into other operations. …

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