Air Transport World

A good opportunity to improve it. (commuter airline industry) (editorial)

A good opportunity to improve it

The commuter/regional industry is no stranger to change. The commuters and regionals have transformed themselves into a highly sophisticated, well-marketed force, spurred largely by the recent trend toward code-sharing.

But the tremendous growth in traffic and sophistication has not eliminated the traditional burden of the commuter carrier-- the public's perception of the small propeller-driven airplane as unsafe, or at best, less safe than the larger jet transports. Even with the blending of the two classes of airlines enhanced by code-sharing, some customers still are distraught to find they are flying on a 19-seat propeller transport when their ticket has led them to believe they were booked on a major all the way.

How can this bias be eliminated? New opportunities on the horizon could help the industry's struggle for public opinion, but only if carriers and manufacturers seize the initiative and show leadership to close gaps in equipment and training standards which perpetuate the negative bias. …

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