LARA editor Mark Thomas summarises the latest happenings across the low-fare and regional aviation industry.

With airline margins coming under increasing pressure, according to IATA’s latest data, the need to slow down rising unit costs has come to the fore.

Attending the Regional Airline Association’s annual get-together in the US, this time being held in lovely Long Beach, California, there has been much talk of savings and efficiencies being implemented in the regional aviation space through new or improved technologies.

India’s SpiceJet has taken delivery of its first 90-seat high-density Q400 turboprop from Bombardier, with the Canadian manufacturer trumpeting the aircraft’s arrival in response to airline demands for a platform that can better address traffic growth in regional markets. Ajay Singh, the carrier’s chairman, said the additional seats and performance improvements will result in a “substantial reduction in unit costs.”

Bombardier said in an RAA briefing the turboprop can help other operators with routes in many regions that were simply too thin for narrow-body jets.

The company also highlighted that its green light from the US FAA for an extension to its CRJ regional jet (700, 900 and 1000) maintenance intervals to 800 and 8,000 hours for A and C checks respectively, equated to a saving per aircraft of US$300,000.

Pratt & Whitney Canada also pointed out the money-saving benefits of its Geared Turbofan engines, for which it has now had over 9,000 orders and commitments. They’ve contributed to a 16% reduction in fuel consumption, P&W said in one RAA briefing, equating to around $120 million being saved by operators.

With inflation pressures in the wider economic environment predicted by IATA to continue adding more fuel to the fire of rising unit costs, airlines are going to need all the money-saving advances they can get.

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the LARA e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.


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