LARA editor Glenn Sands provides a summary of the latest happenings across the low-fare airline and regional aviation industry.

The recent press release from ATR stating that they are optimistic about selling their ATR72-600s in China certainly makes for some positive vibes within the turboprop airliner community. Whether the complex negotiations and mountain of paperwork that needs to be overcome when dealing with the Civil Aviation Administration of China, in order to obtain an operating certification, is completed anytime soon remains to be seen. The Franco-Italian design will be up against China’s own MA60 and MA600 turboprop, along with government officials that encourage domestic airlines to buy Chinese aircraft. It’s a tough battle ahead but the success of the ATR72-600 series, coupled with the steady stream of improvements that’s been introduced to the fleet including cockpit LCD screens and Thales-made avionics and a revised high-density seating layout make this short-haul regional airliner hard to ignore for China’s vast domestic air network.

The tragic events on Sunday with the loss of 157 people when Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed shortly after take-off sent shockwaves across the industry and was the second involving Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircraft. The reaction by the 54 operators flying the Boeing type has been cautious, with a growing list of airlines temporarily grounding their 737 Max 8s as a precautionary measure, as an investigation into the cause of the accident begins with the full cooperation of Boeing representatives. Other airlines continue to operate the type such as American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and a Norwegian Airlines representative stated: “We are in close dialogue with Boeing and follow their and the aviation authorities’ instructions and recommendations.” This later changed, with the airline suspending flights with its Boeing 737 Max 8s, following recommendations by European aviation authorities.

At times like this the airline community sets asides its differences and acts as one, providing assistance, support and advice to all those affected by such tragedies, it’s a time when the people matter, and profit making is set aside.

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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