AMR announces deal for regional jets

Posted Friday, Jan. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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In another move to lower its regional flying costs, AMR Corp. announced Thursday that it signed a 12-year deal with Republic Airways to operate 53 large regional jets for American Eagle.

The agreement will give the parent of American Airlines access to 53 Embraer E-175 jets that have 76 seats, including 12 first-class seats. Republic will buy and operate the aircraft under the American Eagle livery starting in the middle of the year.

All the planes will be in service by the first quarter of 2015, AMR said.

American did not say which routes the new aircraft will be used on or whether it will replace capacity at its mainline operations or American Eagle. However, in its earnings release last week, American disclosed its fleet plan for 2013, which included eliminating American Eagle's 37-seat Embraer 135 regional jets.

"We will offer more flights at the right intervals throughout the day in key markets while providing more opportunities for customers to travel in the first class cabin to key business markets," said Chuck Schubert, American's vice president of planning.

Republic's Chautauqua Airlines now operates regional jet service for American with 15 Embraer E-140 aircraft from Chicago O'Hare airport.

AMR negotiated the ability to have more carriers provide regional feeds as part of new pilots union contracts ratified last year.

But American Eagle pilots, are not happy that AMR plans to outsource more regional flying.

"Although we continue to believe that increased reliance on third-party feed contractors is an ill-advised business practice, this was expected," Eagle pilot union Chairman Tony Gutierrez wrote in a message to members.

As AMR has restructured in bankruptcy, it has discussed outsourcing more regional flying. In September, it signed an agreement with SkyWest to operate 23 regional jets for American at Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles airports.

The agreement with Republic is subject to the approval of the Bankruptcy Court.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Twitter: @Sky_Talk

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