Air Transport World

Air Wisconsin scheduled growth needs more elbow room at Chicago. (using British Aerospace 146-200's)

Air Wisconsin scheduled growth needs more elbow room at Chicago

Appleton--Although the planned implementation period will not be completed before late September, Air Wisconsin's President Preston Wilbourne says, "All indications to date show the British Aerospace 146-200 to be everything that was promised and, in some cases, more.'

The three 100-passenger, four fanjet engined transports surpassed 2,191 hours of flight operation in early February. The first unit, which entered service last June, racked up 1,265 hours; the second, 689 hours since September; and the third, 237 hours for January.

The fourth 146 is due to enter service this month and the company has just exercised its option on two more for July and December deliveries.

In response to a "How Goes it?' inquiry from ATW, Wilbourne said, "We are very pleased with the 146's operational performance. Promised fuel economy is on target. And, considering we are just in the eighth month of operations for an entirely new aircraft, the first jet to be operated by Air Wisconsin, and the fact that we're still in the training/support development phase, we are showing 95% schedule reliability. That rate should climb to 98%-plus as the third and fourth aircraft are settled into the system.'

Wibourne says community airport-watchers, waiting passengers and airline personnel are amazed at the quietness of the Avco Lycoming 502R 6,970-lb. thrust engines. ATW observed several instances where the transport arrived at the terminal area without boarding passengers and airline service personnel being aware of its presence.

Slot problem at Chicago

Aside from a few nuisance-type service items, the prime problem with the 146 insertion into the Air Wisconsin system is the shortage of slots at Chicago's O'Hare airport, which prevent scheduling to its most efficient operating range. In spite of this, the aircraft is "operating in a profit making posture.'

The average segment now being flown by the 146 is 150 miles, the longest being over 200 miles and the shortest 25 miles. The desired average is 200-300 miles. This compares to the average route segment of 103 miles for the de Havilland Dash 7.

Edward Godec, VP-operations, notes that the average fuel burn per passenger seat-mile flown by the 146 is 0.185 lbs. compared to the Dash 7's 0.189 lbs. per seat-mile. (BAe guaranteed 650 gal. of fuel per hour; AW actual is 600 gal.) He also reports the average cruise altitude range is between 14,000 and 22,000 ft. …

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