Europe’s Regional airlines meet in Antibes, Cotes d’Azur.

By Bjorn Fehrm 

October 9, 2018, ©. Leeham News, Antibes France: The European Airlines Association, ERA, gathered 44 of its 51 member airlines in Antibes France, today for the first day of its 2019 General Assembly meeting.

LNA participated in the event for the first time and we found an impressive gathering of airline and airport representatives, aircraft OEMs and support businesses discussing the challenges facing the European regional air transport market.

Norway’s Wideroe, the launch customer for Embraer’s E-Jet E2 is one of the airlines present.

The EU regionals, neglected by its regulators

The European regional airlines are many times the Small and Medium-Enterprises (SMEs) of the airliner industry, serving a local market with connectivity to the large airline’s hubs. By it, they level the playing field for local industry and institutions so they can participate in the dynamic business environment of today.

But this industry faces large challenges, according to its association Director Monserrat Barriga. Some are homemade, some come from LCC competition picking the cherries and leaving an ever-less tasteful connectivity cake and some come from EU legislators not doing their homework before passing laws.

The least these airlines need, according to Barriga, are Brussel authorities not checking what their decisions mean for these infrastructure providers. An example presented was the recent legislation around passenger compensations for delays.

A regional airline can be responsible for paying a passenger three times his paid ticket price because the mainline airline the passenger connects to is three hours delayed. The regional had nothing to do with the delay, yet a substantial portion of his yearly margin of operating the route can disappear in a single delay he had no part in.

The EU regulators passing this EU261 regulation never checked how this law affects different airlines. They only focused the large and aren’t too interested in changing anything now.

The only chance for the SME airlines for corrections to the law is to unite behind ERA, who carries their issues with one voice in Brussels.

The Air Transport industry is present

The assembly has all the OEMs and support businesses present, with presentations during the day from Airbus, Embraer, Mitsubishi, ATR, GE Aviation, and De Havilland Canada. The other OEMs and support companies like Pratt & Whitney, Bombardier CRJ (soon part of Mitsubishi), SuperJet, Lufthansa Technic and many more are all to find in the conference’s exhibition area.

Synopsis of what was presented during the day:

ATR presented a new STOL version of its Turboprop called 42-600S, which can operate from 800m runways (instead of the normal 1,200m), enabling another 500 airports in the world.

Airbus presented how important the A220 is for the company as it’s a clean sheet design addressing a new market segment for Airbus.

Embraer’s CEO of the Commercial business, John Slattery, emphasized how important sustainability issues have become and how its E-jet E2 generation contributes to lower the industry’s environmental footprint.

GE went through ts continued effort to bring down the operational costs of its CF34 engines, with special pricing bundles for combined tech updates and LLP replacement stacks.

De Havilland Canada told how its Dash 8-400 (no Q anymore, just Dash 8) now has a focused company behind it and how its 1,200 employees would support the same number of operational Dash 8s.

Finally, Mitsubishi presented how the regional market is their sole focus and how the SpaceJet M90 followed by the M100 will lift the passenger experience to a mainline level while simultaneously reducing operational costs.

12 Comments on “Europe’s Regional airlines meet in Antibes, Cotes d’Azur.

  1. I would think DHC would realise the high thrust/high speed Dash8-400 hasnt succeeded against the head winds of high fuel prices and regional jets. Who would even consider them for the second hand market wrecking residuals.
    They should revert to a competitive product that competes head to head with the ATR range. Plus bring back the D-8-300 50 seater to allow air services to the smaller cities to continue and not wither away

    • you wont find many airlines flying over mountains (Rockies, Andies, Alps, Hymilayas) that feels safe operating ATR’s…they just dont have adequate power if they lose an engine, that is why reputable western airlines only fly Dash 8’s…they are a better airplane.

      • We have heard all the Q400/Dash8 pluses and more:
        “With a quiet cabin that is quieter than some jet airplanes, seats that are claimed to be more comfortable, windows that allow for a greater view of the magnificent terrain, huge overhead stowage that can fit your trolley bags, and speeds that lag a jet by only 3-5 minutes on a typical 1 hr route, while being much cheaper than a jet aircraft of comparable capacity, the Q400 will deliver a jet experience at a turboprop’s economy”

        And yet one plane outsells the other 8 to 1.
        The Flyingengineer goes all out for the Q400, as an engineer would

  2. The Dash 8 is vastly more flexible than the lumbering ATR.

    ME-110 vs a Mosquito.

    The key was failure to profile it so that you could almost meet the economical of an ATR (slow down) vs speed when needed to make up a flight delay or pack in a lot more stops.

    Major mountainous areas allow it a great deal more freedom in flight planning as you don’t have to wander around terrain due to one engine out limitations on height.

    The engine cost more but the flexibility you get is unmatched. People just need to be aware of that and how it would fit into their route structure and the benefits.

    The new DH clearly is making the right moves.

  3. Well this is an interesting develop that has been long asked, re-engine the 767-200-400.

    Gets you a current build low cost though not optimal NMA.

    Beats any A330NEO simply because its lighter and smaller.

    Proven market. Could even go with a 100.

    Fallout from the 737 issues (debacle in total) – we got a get a new bird in that category and fast.

    • Which is, of course, why three original B767 was driven off the market by the A330-200. However it looks like Boeing may be coming to the same conclusion as Airbus. The next generation SA aircraft will be bigger and have longer range.

    • Yeap, B767 is smaller then A330neo so it’s lighter, but will gain weight with new engines. But planes are growing so NMA would have almost same pax as A330, and B767 has not.

      I would be disappointed if B would stick with old 767 instead of new 797, but maybe it’s better in this situation.

      • Anyone proposing another ‘re-engining of a 40 yr old plane’ at Boeings Tukwila HQ would find themselves carried bodily from their desk by massed employees and dumped at the carpark , never to return.
        The idea of the 767-400 version being used , makes all the numbers worse not better, thats why that model never sold while the -300 still did.

  4. The proposed update of the 767 is based on the -400 airframe, which would invalidate some of the arguments put forward in t5he earlier Leeham article – it would be heavier and would carry more passengers than the -300 update discussed there. It would an interesting development, putting all those 9-across 787s to shame for comfort!

    • But … “The lower costs for fees and crew can’t fully compensate for higher fuel and maintenance costs per passenger.”

      So a -400 version may gain by having more seats, but looses any “lower fee cost” advantage.

      It’s an interesting predicament for BA, composite NMA at around $70 million price to customer, I just don’t see that happening now.

      Should they even bother to address the NMA market ? AB may well then stretch the A321, and take just enough of a bite out of the NMA market to cause BA headaches.

      For both BA, and AB, the best option may be to get on with the NSA, the SA market is where they both make most of their money, to me the NMA market is a bit of a distraction.

      Airbus path, build the A220-500, then NSA sized from just above the -500 with perhaps three models going deep into the proposed NMA area.
      The -500 can go ahead right now, even as AB work on lowering the build cost. The AB NSA looks to be progressing already, they just have to time EIS right for the more advanced engines (Ultrafan).

      Boeing path is more tricky as they don’t have A220 like aircraft, so if they are allowed by the monopolies commissions, use the E-Jet E2 family as their A220-100 sized offering, and build an A220-300 to lower end of NMA NSA.

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