Whoops, I scheduled this for the wrong day, and I was traveling so didn’t catch until too late. Enjoy the special Saturday post.
This Week’s Featured Link
Exclusive: Mitsubishi ponders restarting CRJ production – Leeham News and Analysis
That would be a rather abrupt turn, and it would be really hard to do considering the factory that used to build the airplane is not Mitsubishi’s to use. But hey, Mitsubishi has all but given up on its own Spacejet, so maybe this is an attempt to make something of its quickly-fading former plans for regional glory.
Video of the Week
Two for the Road
Washington’s Dash Air Shuttle secures three Cessna 402Cs – ch-aviation
The Cape Air of the West appears closer to takeoff.
EXCLUSIVE New Saudi airline plan takes aim at Emirates, Qatar Airways – Reuters
What a miserable idea. There isn’t even room for the three big airlines in the Middle East that exist today. If the Saudis want to light their money on fire, this is a good way to do it. This is chest-thumping at its worst.
Maybe Mitsubishi could form a joint venture with Airbus. I’m not sure new CRJ-550s are the only possibility. If the recent trend to upgauge regional fleets at the legacies continues, 65 to 70 seat regional aircraft may become the new bottom. With Embraer apparently abandoning the 65 to 70-seat space, that leaves a solid niche for the CRJ700.
Of course, U.S. airline management and labor could hammer out new scope clauses that better reflect the heavier, re-engined regional jets. But I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. It simply may be asking too much for U.S airline labor and management to find ways to give a little when both seem to be dug in, and everything is so polarized.
It’s hard to imagine the Saudis competing with Emirates, or even Etihad. Both of the competitors look to me like essentially European – managed airlines with Arab financial backing. The Saudis traditionally won’t tolerate Westerners running their businesses for any length of time. Headquartering the airline – or anything else – in Riyadh also seems problematic. There’s not a lot for tourists to do there, and ferchrissakes it’s 130 degrees F in the summer. Maybe there’s a chapter to this story I don’t know yet.
There’s no way the Saudis could compete with Emirates, Qatar or Turkish in this space. For one thing, there isn’t room for an ME4 – as Etihad is finding out (Turkish has really stolen a lot of oxygen from them in particular). Secondly, with Saudi Arabia’s strict moral laws, certain products (like alcohol and even some food) cannot be served. Furthermore, based on what I’ve read of service on Saudi Airlines, it doesn’t sound like they have a good handle on customer service either. Nor would there hub be somewhere that would attract many tourists, again based on the heavy-handed laws in place in that country and the seriously unwelcoming vibe that visitors may receive there.
Ugh. I really hope that Mitsubishi never seriously considers making another CRJ ever. I’m looking forward to the day that those planes are no longer flying. It makes a 737 look comfy.