Air Transport World

Playing catch-up

                 US Airways Express carriers [traffic.sup.*]  Allegheny       First quarter First quarter  Airlines                 1998          1997  Passengers            468,623       449,352  RPMs               84,049,462    85,102,701  ASMs              178,351,470   196,215,625  Load factor (%)          47.1          43.4  Avg. stage   length (miles)         183.9         190.0  Piedmont        First quarter First quarter  Airlines                 1998          1997  Passengers            668,673       655,039  RPMs              131,944,126   128,264,750  ASMs              249,375,227   253,380,849  Load factor (%)          52.9          50.6  Avg. stage   length (miles)         191.8         187.1  PSA             First quarter First quarter  Airlines                 1998          1997  Passengers            277,539       256,806  RPMs               89,433,895    80,688,825  ASMs              149,732,768   149,763,529  Load factor (%)          59.7          53.9  Avg. stage   length (miles)         315.3         314.6  (*.)Wholly owned. SOURCE: AvStat Associates      

As other Regional airlines flood their fleets with RJs, US Airways Express must make do with a mere dozen-for the present

All told, US Airways Express operates 2,531 daily departures, 485 more than US Airways. Even so, US Airways has yet to realize fully the value of its three wholly owned subsidiaries and seven independent US Airways Express carriers, analysts contend.

Nor has the Major begun to integrate its Regional partners into its long-term plans, as other Major carriers have done.

Nowhere is that shortsightedness more evident than in the contract US Airways has with its ALPA-represented mainline pilots-a very restrictive contract that limits the number of regional jets to be flown by Express pilots to 12 this year, 15 in the second year and 25 in the third year of an accord that expires in 2003.

The contract also restricts the number of RJ routes to be flown by Express carriers and limits aircraft size to 69 seats and 70,000 lb. It might be considered a supreme irony that US Airways, which invented code-share arrangements with commuter/regional airlines, is not doing more with its crop of partners. …

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