Colgan parent files for bankruptcy protection; plans to retire Q4s & 340s

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Wandering Aramean, Apr 2, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Pinnacle Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday, indicating that they could no longer maintain the necessary cash flow to operate their business. In large party they blame the fixed capacity purchase agreement penned with Continental and still operated under the United Express brand, with the Saab 340s and Q400s as the planes causing the losses. United temporarily extended the company a life-line, agreeing to increase the payment rates for a two month period. That agreement expired yesterday and the company was no further along in negotiating concessions from ALPA so they're throwing in the towel.

    The 340s will be removed from service by the end of July and the Q4s by the end of November. It remains to be seen what United will do to replace this capacity, though some ERJ135s have come out of storage. Of course, these are more expensive to operate on a CASM basis but at least the routes will remain in many cases.

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    Also of note, the DL CRJ-900s will be retired in the first half of 2013.

    More coverage of the Pinnacle bankruptcy filing can be found here or here.
     
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  2. mherdeg
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    mherdeg Silver Member

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    Are these the Q4s that they planned to outfit with Economy Plus and First? Did that ever happen?
     
  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Yes, it is those airplanes. And, yes, some of them have already been configured. I doubt that this will change the deployment of the new configuration.
     
  4. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    Wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Q-400s end up at SkyWest or ExpressJet.
     
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  5. EWR764
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    Exactly. The Q400s will likely begin to transition to a new operator this summer, same with the DCI CR9s that will be removed from Pinnacle service.
     
  6. theBOAT
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    theBOAT Silver Member

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    April fools?
     
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  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Despite the timing of the announcement, nope. That is, unless the bankruptcy court for the Southern District of NY has suddenly found a sense of humor. And that seems quite unlikely.
     
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  8. TAHKUCT
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    TAHKUCT Gold Member

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    Does not look like it
     
  9. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    Those Saabs were in DESPERATE NEED OF REPLACEMENT! I've flown them between IAD-ABE a number of times and they were taped up, falling apart in the interior of the aircraft. One of the worst planes I've ever flown.
     
  10. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    CO (UA) has often supplimented Q400s on BOS-EWR/EWR-BOS (especially on weekends). If they aren't moved, I wonder if they would bring in more ERJs.

    That said, unlike many people, I've actually liked flying the Q400 the times I've had to fly them and the inclusion of F certainly helps me like them a bit more.
     
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  11. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    Yes, while they are mechanically sound, the interiors of those aircraft are in sorry shape.

    I like the Q400 as well. My biggest complaint about them is the very narrow seat design and the fact that they can be a very bumpy ride, but for shorter flights, they're a fine aircraft.
     
  12. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    I think they'd be a new type for either airline. I believe the largest U.S. Q400 operator is Horizon (QX), subsidiary of Alaska. Alaska seems to have positioned Horizon for either a spin-off or maybe to enter the market to operate Q400's for other airlines with a number of steps. They have retired the Horizon brand, and all the flights are now marketed by Alaska who sets fares and schedules. The aircraft livery are now Alaska operated by Horizon. They transferred their remaining CR7's to Skywest, who operate them for Alaska on the longest routes.

    Alaska made the decision a couple of years ago to almost exclusively use the Q400 for what had been all its regional/commuter/RJ flying because of the lower fuel burn and better economics. That decision sure seems right and there are no real reasons to believe fuel prices will ever return to the lower levels of the past - the worldwide economy remains weak and developing nation demand is at historically high levels and still growing. High fuel prices are a permanent, and the Q400 is superior for flights up to around 600 miles/2 hours.

    The biggest impact on UA is to find a new Q400 operator. The limited RJ flying that Pinnacle provided can go to another UX carrier.
     
  13. mht_flyer
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    UA's "Important Notices" page has this blurb:

     
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  14. mht_flyer
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  15. mht_flyer
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    For what it's worth, I just went through a 30 minute ticket re-issue for a short BOS-BWI RT in July. That said, the last flight is on a Q400 op'd by Colgan according to UA agent and by UA website for (July 29) but the E-Ticket receipt is showing it as a ERJ 145 Op'd by ExpressJet. Perhaps they are already re-working schedules now?
     
  16. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    Although there will be some short term headaches, I think this is some of the best news for the industry, but not for consumers and cheap airfare.
     
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  17. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    I'm not sure how I see this raising airfares? Colgan's just a regional. Unless UA doesn't replace the capacity, I don't see necessarily how this will raise airfare.

    It seems that most people believe another regional (such as XE) will pick up the Q400s.


    As for the shorter SAAB routes? I got to imagine there's a number of EAS routes the SAABS do such as IAD-SHD, so I'm not sure who would necessarily want to pick those routes up.
     
  18. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    Other operators will have increased pay for staff, which will result in higher CPA costs, and higher prices. However it is really hard to be higher than ACT was already, it was on average $150-400 higher than DAL or GRK less than 90 mins away for both of them.
     
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  19. Captain Oveur
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    I'm glad this happened, I still cannot in good faith say I would fly Colgan. I have been fortunate enough to be able to pay a slightly higher ticket cost on a couple of cities Colgan serves, just to avoid them.
     
  20. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Sure, but it seems that there will be a number of qualified crew looking for new jobs in the near future, too, so another operator shouldn't have too much trouble buying in to the market.
     
  21. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    I, for one, welcome our new RJ overlords.

    I have been happy with Skywest's service on the West Coast. They seem to be the exclusive RJ provider up and down the West Coast and I haven't had a bad experience on them, even in the EM2s.
     
  22. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    Yes, SkyWest generally runs a great operation, as does ExpressJet, which SkyWest now owns.
     
  23. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    I don't think it would hard to find qualified crew, but the airline needs to decide it will manage another fleet type, arrange for the maintenance, etc. I think it would be smart to do, as I think these aircraft will play an increasing role on shorter routes.
    It is becoming a very concentrated industry. Pinnacle, Comair, Eagle, Horizon are kind of captive and not doing too well. Republic and Skywest. Who else is there? Time for a start-up?
     
  24. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Here's a crazy airline CEO idea: UA should lease them and operate them with mainline crews. Outsource the maintenance. With the price of fuel comprising a larger percentage of the operating costs than previously compared against crew costs, and the need for the regional operators to have their own middle-man profit margin, I wonder if the economics of running them on property are so out of whack.

    I bet the furloughed pilots and FAs would like to see more on property flying, even at a lower pay rate.
     
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  25. adambadam
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    Why would the Q400s not work for one airline though another has some different math that it all of a sudden makes sense?
     

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