Regional Airlines Will Have to Adjust

A look at the status of the industry

  • Low fares. Discount airline will continue to force airfares to the lowest average since deregulation. Low fares have lured more passengers aboard.
  • Regional airlines. Jets are replacing turboprops. Regional airlines will therefore pick up additional routes handed off by cost-cutting big-airline partners.
  • Full planes. Major airlines will need to eclipse their 2003 record of flying their planes 74.2 percent full on average.
  • Future aircraft development. Regional airlines will have to adapt and take advantage of manufacturer production of the 70- to 100-seat airplanes, a size bigger than common regional jets, but smaller than the smallest planes typically flown by major airlines.
  • Limitations of air traffic control system. Free flight advocates would have you believe that this is not an issue, however air traffic control is in direct correlation to more flights, greater frequency and on time arrivals. The FAA must continue to be proactive, and the regionals have a major play in this arena.
  • Regulatory cost burden. With major air carriers being so volatile to bankruptcy this is an area where the commuter and regionals will have to pay more in order to operate in the aviation industry.
  • "Scope clause" restrictions. These restrictions are artificial boundaries and are reminiscent of the days when the CAB was enforcing regulations and dividing not only classes of travel but also sectors of flight. Big brother is not the federal government but rather the major air carrier.

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