Air Transport World

U.S. large regionals. (World Airline Report 1986)

U.S. large regionals

Air Atlanta: Unable to arrange an infusion of capital, the three-year-old carrier, which sought to build a market by offering first-class service at coach fares in a fleet of seven leased Boeing 727s, suspended operations this spring and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Air Atlanta, which was serving nine citie in the eastern U.S., flew 470 million RPK in 1986.

Air Midwest: With the costs of its 1984 acquisition of Scheduled Skyways and its 1986 entrance into three code-sharing agreements finally behind it, and yields on the upswing, Air Midwest is looking forward to a profitable 1987 after two years of net losses.

The Wichita-based carrier's 1986 balance sheet showed a net loss of $4.3 million, some $1 million more than in 1985 on a 15.7% rise to $68.8 million in revenues. However, the airline posted a small operating profit of $178,473 in contrast to a 1985 operating loss of $3.2 million.

Air Midwest in 1986 initiated Eastern Express service out of a Kansas City hub and American Eagle service at American's new Nashville hub. In November, with completion of the TWA-Ozark merger, its Ozark Midwest Express service at St. Louis was transformed into TWExpress.

All of this code-sharing activity produced healthy traffic increases. Passenger boardings were up 21.3% to 923,124 while RPKs climbed 10% to 255.9 million and load factor improved 1.8 points to 41.9%. The 1987 forecast is for growth of 6.2% in passengers and 13.2% in RPKs.

Other events last year included the discontinuance of New Mexico operations in February and the purchase of four Embraer Brasilias and 10 Fairchild Metro IIs for the American Eagle service. By year's end, nearly all of the Metro I aircraft acquired in the Scheduled Skyways merger had either been sold or leased to other carriers, and Air Midwest was operating a fleet of 42 Metro IIs, two IIAs, five Saab 340s and the four Brasilias.

This year has seen the return of Air Midwest (non-code-sharing) service to Kansas City's Downtown Airport and cessation of service at several Essential Air Service points in Arkansas and Tennessee.

Aspen: The Denver-based United Express carrier enjoyed good traffic growth once again in 1986. Passenger boardings were up 12.5% to 642,496 while RPKs climbed 5.1% to 198 million. Aspen carried 1.66 million lbs. of freight last year, up 0.6% from 1985.

The 1986 financial ledger showed an operating profit of $1 million, down from $1.36 million, and a net of $933,200, up from $362,025, on a 7% rise to $37.9 million in revenues.

Atlantic Southeast: The Delta Connection carrier is on the verge of growing into a national airline. ASA took in $92.3 million in revenues in 1986, a 22.5% jump over its 1985 total and just short of the $100 million that DOT has established as the dividing line between regionals and nationals.

The revenue surge produced a record net profit of $10.5 million, up from $10.3 million a year earlier. ASA's operating profit rose to $18.5 million from $15.2 million.

Traffic also showed impressive growth, with passenger boardings jumping 17.7% to 1,156,202 and RPKs soaring 30.2% to 357 million. ASA carried 1.5 million lbs. of freight, up 2.6%.

The year's highlight outside the financial results was the opening in December of a new Delta Connection hub at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, which ASA is serving with three Embraer Brasilias and six Bandeirantes. ASA, which is 20% owned by Delta, previously fed its partner primarily at Atlanta; a Memphis hub was closed down last fall.

The world's first operator of the Brasilia, ASA bolstered its fleet late in the year by purchasing two from fellow regional Air Midwest. It was flying nine Brasilias at year's end.

ASA was ATW's Commuter/Regional Airline of the Year for 1986.

AVAir: The Virginia-based American Eagle carrier's traffic declined once again in 1986 as it boarded 222,000 passengers, down 3.6% from 1985. This year should see a big improvement, however, as AVAir realigns its route system to focus on American's new Raleigh hub, opening June 15. AVAir will nearly double its daily flights by year's end as it begins service to 14 cities from Raleigh.

Bar Harbor: The Maine carrier, which operates Eastern Express service in both the Northeast and Florida, enjoyed outstanding traffic growth in 1986, boarding 453,105 passengers for a 26.3% increase over the 1985 total.

Eastern parent Texas Air Corp. plans to acquire a major interest in Bar Harbor, the two carriers report.

Bar Harbor purchased ten Beech C99s for its Florida operations late last year, and in addition to those aircraft flies 16 Beech B99s, 11 Beech 1900s and six Saab 340s.

Britt: The Indiana carrier went through some major upheavals in 1986 and early 1987. …

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