Air Transport World

US Nationals.(airlines)(Statistical Data Included)

5.37% of world passengers

3.10% of world RPKs

6.25% of world FTKs

AirTran: Continuing its rebuilding process, the low-fare carrier cut its operating and net losses sharply in 1998 and is aiming for profitability in 1999.

The net loss of $40.8 million included a $27.5 million charge for writing off its fleet of 10 737s and contrasted to a net loss of $96.7 million in 1997. Operating loss was reduced to $18.6 million from $101.8 million in the prior year. Revenues more than doubled to $439.3 million.

The year's activities, the carrier said, included reconfiguring its route system, expanding service to key business markets, installing business class throughout the fleet and completing contracts with pilot, mechanic and flight attendant unions.

This year's highlight will be the start of deliveries of an order of 50 717s. AirTran was the launch customer for the new twinjet and has another 50 on option. It will retire the 737s and some of its 40 DC-9s as the new aircraft arrive.

Traffic surged along with revenues last year as boardings jumped 81.7% and RPKs climbed 103.1%.

Air Transport International: The Little Rock-based charter carrier emerged from bankruptcy last year and was acquired by BAX Global. It now operates as a BAX Global subsidiary, flying 12 DC-8s for that company plus 10 in its own cargo and combination operations.

ATI's RPKs, consisting primarily of military charters, were up 31.4% last year but its FTKs declined 17.1%, it told DOT.

Although revenues fell 19.6% to $107 million, operating loss improved to $4.5 million from $4.7 million. The bankruptcy produced an extraordinary gain of $73.3 million, leaving ATI with a net profit of $17.5 million for the year.

Air Wisconsin: Its aggressive expansion into United's Denver hub sent Air Wisconsin's traffic soaring last year. Enplanements jumped 46.6%, RPKs climbed 44.2% and load factor improved 4.5 points to 67.9%. Net profit rose to $6 million from $3.7 million as revenues surged 39% to $195.6 million.

The United Express carrier took over many of the routes formerly flown by Mesa and acquired leases on four Dornier 328s from bankrupt Mountain Air Express. It since has added seven more 328s and four Canadair RJs to its fleet of 18 RAe 146s. It has another five CRJs on order.

American Eagle: American's Regional affiliate described 1998 as "a pivotal year" during which it merged three of its four carriers--addition of Executive to the mix is still pending--announced a firm order for 42 Embraer ERJ-145s and 25 Canadair CFJ-700s and placed its first ERJ-145 into service. At year end it had 27 ERJ-145s in the fleet.

Later it placed a firm order for 75 smaller ERJ-135s, the first of which will be delivered next June, and this past March it completed the purchase of Business Express Airlines, a move that will strengthen its position in the US Northeast. …

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