United Buys Embraer

United Airlines has ordered 30 E-175 Embraer jets to use in the United Express fleet.  The aircraft will have 76 seats and offers 10% savings in costs over their current 50 seat fleet.

It’s a good aircraft for the airline but it also points out something that, I think, might indicate a lack of competitiveness on the part of United.

10% improvement over the current 50 seat jets?  Really?  If that is the case and if demand is as good as people say it is, why would United not buy Embraer 190 aircraft instead?  It’s possible that its labor agreements don’t permit it to and, if true, that will hurt United badly in the coming years.

The Embraer E-175 is a fine airplane but it doesn’t offer the seat costs the E-190/195 offer and this isn’t a “new” aircraft family anymore.  It seems like it must be but it isn’t.  These aircraft came online in 2002 which makes their design originating from about 1999.  That’s 11 years or more in age for these airplanes and a lot has happened in the aircraft world since their rollout.

What United needs is the seat costs that American Airlines will enjoy in about 18 months as new aircraft come online and American is able to contract with airlines to obtain and operate bigger regional jets.

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One Response to “United Buys Embraer”

  1. Your comments on this are uninformed. UAL’s scope clause calls for UAL pilots to fly any aircraft over 76 seats so if they purchased E190/E195′s they would have to be flown by mainline pilots at mainline wages. The 175′s allow them to contract them to regional airlines instead where pilot make smaller wages.

    As far as your comment on seat costs and the new American I don’t think you have a clue how many things come into play. Regional jets are a tiny part of it.

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