Air Transport World

Piedmont affiliates pace industry growth rate. (Brockway Air, CCAir, Henson Airlines)

Piedmont affiliates pace industry growth rate

At a time when commuter/regional alliances are starting to shake out, three short-haul airlines appear to be finding that promised growth potential is real. Brockway Air, CCAir and Henson Airlines-The Piedmont Regional--the three carriers still flying Piedmont Airlines colors--all rank in the top 10 of the country's fastest-growing commuter/regionals. Former Piedmont Commuters include Trans Air, Southern Express and Britt Airways.

But the three still in the Piedmont Commuter network are doing very well. At the top of the list is CCAir, Inc. With a 120% growth in 1985 enplanements over 1984, CCAir dramatically demonstrates the potential of its code-sharing relationship with Piedmont, begun in May of last year. CCAir's RPMs were up 99.8% over 1984. After CCAir comes Henson, increasing 1984 boardings by 19% in 1985; RPMs increased 25.8% over 1984.

Benefits all around

Through June of this year, CCAir's enplanements totaled 152,859, up a whopping 246%, while RPMs grew an even-higher 298%, up to 18.7 million. Brockway, the newest Piedmont Commuter, carried 141,095, up 33.7%, with RPMs up 23.5%; Henson, too, carried 30% more at 322,574 passengers, with RPMs up 45% to 78.9 million. Load factor for CCAir for the six months was 47.4%; Brockway had a 54% load factor and Henson 45%.

Piedmont's benefit out of these affiliations is multifaceted. First, the major receives help in securing feed traffic to its hubs. Piedmont also profits from the interlining of 75% of the passengers its partners carry, about 1.7 million passengers. In addition to supplying passenger feed, the partners also pay to participate in the Piedmont Commuter program. In 1985 Piedmont earned $14 million in fees from its partners, about $8.25 per interlined passenger. Piedmont hopes to hit $80 million when the system reaches maturity later this decade.

This is not to say there haven't been disappointments with some past Piedmont Commuters. For example Southern Express and Trans Air, two carriers Piedmont selected to complement its Florida Shuttle service, lost their contracts with the major (ATW, 5/86) after a series of operational and financial problems.

And in the Midwest, Britt Airways lost its Piedmont Commuter status Sept. 15. Piedmont's feelings toward Britt started to cool after People Express bought the Indiana regional earlier this year. Meanwhile, Henson bought Jetstream International, freeing Piedmont to break off with Britt. Jetstream, already a Piedmont Commuter, will now fill in for Britt.

For 1985 Britt showed only 3.9% traffic growth, down from double-digit expansion in 1983 and 1984. …

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