Americas briefing

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Mesaba to exit bankruptcy

Mesaba Aviation is poised to emerge from bankruptcy reorganisation in May and emerge as a new subsidiary of Northwest Airlines. It now operates 50 aircraft and under Northwest will add 36 76-seat jets by the end of next year. Meanwhile, Northwest has secured FAA approval to launch in May its new regional subsidiary, Compass Airlines.

Continental's shiny quarter

Continental Airlines has turned a $22 million net profit for the three months to March 2007. It is the first time it has made a first quarter profit since 2001.

Brazil to create civil agency

Following another strike by controllers, Brazil has agreed to create a civilian agency that will gradually take over air traffic control from the air force. This meets one of the main demands of controllers, but does not address the growing backlog of maintenance and infrastructure needs at Brazil's airports.

Azteca grounded

Mexico's transport secretary has grounded Azteca over deficiencies ranging from pilot testing to parts control. It also faces problems over social security payments for its staff.

OceanAir goes international

Brazil is set to have another international airline as OceanAir plans to launch flights in May to Mexico City, Lagos in Nigeria and Luanda in Angola.

Delta nears bankruptcy exit

Delta Air Lines moved closer to its goal of exiting bankruptcy-court protection in May after creditors voted in April to support the carrier's new business plan. Chief executive Jerry Grinstein says he will step down as soon as the new Delta board of directors selects a successor. The board, which includes former Northwest Airlines chief executive Richard Anderson, will likely choose between Delta chief financial officer Ed Bastian and chief operating officer Jim Whitehurst.

American speeds up 737s

American Airlines has accelerated deliveries of Boeing 737-800s as it starts replacing its fleet of 300 ageing MD-80s. It will start taking deliveries of 47 737-800s in 2009, four years earlier than planned. The 148-seat 737-800s, which burn about 25% less fuel than the 136-seat MD-80s, will be delivered over a three-year period.

Airlines charge more for LAX

Several airlines placed a surcharge of $10 on tickets for most flights departing from the Los Angeles International Airport to protest sharply higher fees imposed by the city. Led by United, Delta and US Airways joined the move after Los Angeles World Airports announced new charges and rental rates, which also prompted a lawsuit by several airlines. The airport claims the carriers are "exploiting" the dispute to increase their profits.

Toronto campaign falls short

The Canadian government has rejected requests to relax airport rent at Toronto Pearson despite a rare show of unity between IATA and the airport in campaigning for a change. Lloyd McCoomb, Pearson's new chief executive, is proud of the airport's recent upgrade, but he still complains about the "brutal" charges that make it one of the world's most expensive.

Harmony retires

Vancouver-based Harmony Airlines has ceased scheduled services. Owner David Ho says increased operating costs, overcapacity, and aggressive fare competition have forced Harmony to consider other options - probably charters. Ho stresses the airline is not bankrupt. Harmony's decision follows CanJet's withdrawal from scheduled services last September.