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Regionals Feel Effects

Canadian regional carriers were taking a 'wait-and-see' attitude


October 24, 2007
By Dave Lowery

Topics

6-regionals_beech_1900dPrior to September 11, Canadian regional carriers were taking a
'wait-and-see' attitude; some, especially those with ties to Air
Canada, were experiencing steady but slow growth. But since then, all
regionals have had to seriously evaluate their business as passenger
volumes drop and higher security requirements bring extra costs.

Over
a year after Air Canada's takeover of Canadian Airlines, some
third-level carriers have abandoned their efforts to break into
regularly scheduled passenger service and, in an effort to survive,
returned to their charter, medevac or cargo specialties. But with new
regulations following the US crisis, Canada's regionals are more
uncertain of the future.

Some regionals simply haven't had time
to figure out how the new regulations might affect them. British
Columbia's Central Mountain Air (CMA) operates 18-seat Beech 1900Ds and
found the challenge to fill the aircraft somewhat daunting even before
September 11. CMA president Doug McCrea said his small airline has seen
many changes in the last year and he is not sure what to expect.

"Security
is now a big issue but we've always had the challenge to fill 18
seats," McCrea said. "Things change on a monthly basis, depending on
contracts. A lot of people are adopting a 'let's see what happens'
attitude. At this point, we haven't been able to gauge what the
airspace closure cost our business. We are certainly in changing times
and it's a matter of being able to adapt to the changes."

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