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ATA Mulls Expansion, Eyes B717, EMB 190 (Apr. 30)

INDIANAPOLIS --- ATA Holdings Corp., parent company of ATA, today announced that it will explore the use of smaller jets to meet its future growth plans.

While formal negotiations are not yet underway, the carrier has expressed interest in the Boeing 717 and the Embraer 190 aircraft. “ATA airlines currently flies the largest number of seats on average of any scheduled carrier which is yield-limiting in today’s environment”, said George Mikelsons, ATA’s Chairman, President & CEO. “Operating a fleet of 100 seat aircraft would provide a cost-effective and flexible means of expansion for ATA, while improving unit revenues. Such an aircraft would give us a better balance to our fleet, allowing entry into new, smaller markets as well as providing added frequencies in existing markets.

The airline is presently discussing its fleet and growth plans with its union leadership, and will require an addition to its current cockpit contract rates before formally launching negotiations with the aircraft manufacturers.

Erik Engdahl, ATA MEC Chairman - Air Line Pilots Association said, “The ALPA Flight Deck Crewmembers at ATA are supportive of the Company’s forward-looking approach for alternative methods for generating an increase in revenue during these strenuous economic times. Smaller jet service will reduce the over abundance of capacity within our system and also provide much needed service to smaller revenue cities. We consider the Company’s move innovative and an opportunity to show new customers the ATA advantage.”

Jacki Pritchett, ATA MEC President - Association of Flight Attendants also said, “At ATA, we have a broad experience in just about every service an airline can offer, and only through our continued adaptability and pride for this airline have we weathered successfully through so many storms in this industry. AFA supports this new plan as the perfect strategy to stay in step with the recent demands of our business and remain a strong competitor for many more years to come.”

Now celebrating its 31st year of operation, ATA is the nation’s 10th largest airline (based on revenue passenger miles) and one of the nation’s largest low fare carriers. ATA has the youngest, most fuel-efficient fleet among the major scheduled carriers, featuring the new Boeing 737-800 and 757-300 aircraft.

ATA Holdings Corp. Eyes Fleet Expansion