While Dawn and I were in Europe, there was some rather interesting news on the company front regarding our MiniWhacker fleet.
Since the FAA raised the average passenger weights last year, the MiniWhacker has become an often weight restricted airplane on many of the routes we fly. The MegaWhacker was much less impacted thanks to its impressive payload capability. This drove the company's revamping of the fleet plan, which included ordering 12 new MegaWhackers with options for 20 more and also purchasing two used MegaWhackers. At the same time, they said they would be looking to "remarket" up to 9 of the MiniWhackers.
Well, a few weeks ago the company announced that CommutAir has signed a deal to purchase 16 of our MiniWhackers. I'm not sure that the number is concrete, because CommutAir told their pilots the deal is for 16 aircraft plus options for several more. Around the same time, my company also announced that it would exercise at least one of the 20 options on MegaWhackers.
Prior to these developments, it looked like we would be growing by at least 5 airframes (14 Megawhackers minus 9 MiniWhackers). That's admittedly miniscule when some regionals are getting several airplanes per month, but it's bigger growth than this company has had in a while. The question on everybody's mind now is how this CommutAir deal will impact the fleet plan. If no more options are exercised, we will actually shrink by one airframe. If the company still has plans for expanded flying (out of LAX, for example), they will need to exercise additional MegaWhacker options. That's what everyone is hoping for.
As I understand it, the additional MegaWhacker options become available over the next year and a half or so. I wouldn't be surprised to see the company try to use them as a carrot for the ongoing negotiations.
The other piece of news from while we were gone is that our parent company posed a recordbreaking 2nd quarter profit of $60 million. Of that, my own airline contributed $10.2 million. Makes it a little hard to argue for paycuts, eh?