Air Transport World

U.S. large regionals. (air line statistics) (23rd Annual Market Development Report)

U.S. large regionals

Air Midwest: A number of factors, among them its lack until late in the year of marketing relationships with major carriers, produced unaccustomed losses for Wichita-based Air Midwest in 1985. It now is into code-sharing with a vengeance, however--operating as Ozark Midwest Express into that carrier's St. Louis hub and as Eastern Midwest Express from 15 cities to Eastern's Kansas City hub, and feeding American's Nashville hub as an American Eagle carrier.

A second big problem for Air Midwest last year was the expense stemming from its January acquisition of Scheduled Skyways. Bringing the Arkansas carrier's fleet up to Air Midwest standards and integrating the two operations generated heavy costs. The expense side of the ledger also was impacted by poor weather in November and December and by unusually heavy training requirements.

All of these items combined to send expenses spiraling 15.9% to $62.7 million while revenues were rising only 1.7% to $59.5 million, resulting in an operating loss of $3.2 million and a net loss of $3.7 million in contrast to a 1984 operating profit of $4.4 million and net of $1.6 million.

On the traffic side, passenger boardings rose 8.6% last year to 761,083 and RPKs climbed 5% to 232.6 million.

To help reduce its losses, Air Midwest early this year suspended services on a number of unprofitable routes, pulling out of New Mexico entirely and also dropping Amarillo, Tex., and Springdale, Ark.

Arrow: The tragic loss last December of a military chartered Arrow McDonnell Douglas DC-8-60 on takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland, killing 248, triggered a chain of events that culminated in the carrier filing in early 1986 for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and grounding all of its passenger aircraft. At this writing Arrow was still flying three aircraft in charter and scheduled cargo operations.

Political uproar following the crash, and testimony from former employes casting doubt on the airline's maintenance practices, led FAA to conduct an investigation of the carrier that in February 1986 resulted in the agency grounding all 10 passenger-carrying DC-8s in Arrow's fleet for using parts that lacked complete documentation. Bankruptcy came shortly after the grounding. Arrow contended that FAA found little wrong in its inspection and bent to political pressure to close the airline.

In filing for bankruptcy the airline said that in 1985 it earned a $229,914 net profit on revenues of $134.7 million.

Traffic data filed with DOT showed total RPKs down 35.9% for the year, compared to 1984, to 2.09 billion. Load factor of 74.2% was up 2.9 points.

Aspen: Another year of outstanding traffic growth was chalked up by the Denver-based carrier in 1985 as it added a second BAe 146 to a fleet that also includes 11 Convair 580s. It holds an option on a third 146 for 1986 delivery.

Passenger boardings soared 28.7% last year to 571,028 and RPKs skyrocketed 44.8% to 188.5 million. Aspen is forecasting that traffic will grow only about 3% this year.

Revenues in 1985 rose 32.4% to $35.5 million.

Atlantic Southeast: The Delta Connection carrier became the world's first operator of the Embraer Brasilia in 1985. It had taken delivery of six of the 30-passenger turboprops by year's end and has a further four on order.

Last year also saw an effort by ASA to acquire a fellow Delta Connection carrier, Rio Airways, but the proposed merger fell through.

ASA enjoyed outstanding traffic growth in 1985, posting increases of 60% in passenger boardings to 982,252 and 74% in RPKs to 274 million.

Revenues were up 72.1% to $75.4 million, boosting operating income to $15.2 million and net to $10.3 million from an operating profit of $10.7 million and a net of $5.3 million in 1984.

In addition to the Brasilias, ASA flies five de Havilland Dash 7s, eight Shorts 360s and 15 Bandeirantes.

AVAir: The former Air Virginia changed its name when it became an American Eagle carrier last spring and began operating its ten Metro IIIs and eight Metro IIs in new colors. …

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