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American Airways bucks 50-seater {industry} pattern

American Airways (AA, Dallas/Fort Value) is bucking an industry-wide pattern to retire 50-seater single-cabin plane and is re-introducing CRJ200s on no less than ten home routes subsequent yr in partnership with its regional capability supplier Air Wisconsin ( ZW, Appleton) flying underneath the American Eagle model.

Based on schedules knowledge at hand confirmed by an American Airways spokesperson, the next routes from Chicago O’Hare will once more see the smaller metropolis hoppers from April 2023: Appleton, Flint, Dayton James M. Cox, Cedar Rapids, Omaha Eppley, Huntsville, Kalamazoo, Manhattan, Milwaukee Common Mitchell, and Waterloo.

This comes as Air Wisconsin switches again from United Airways (UA, Chicago O’Hare) – which is phasing out single-cabin 50-seat E145s and CRJ-200s by 2026 – to American Airways early subsequent yr underneath a brand new five-year capability buy settlement. Beneath its phrases, Air Wisconsin could deploy as much as sixty CRJ-200s underneath the American Eagle model, beginning with forty phased in month-to-month from March 2023 till October 2023. Based on the ch-aviation fleets superior module, Air Wisconsin owns sixty-three CRJ200LRs and one CRJ200ER.

In April 2020, American Airways had introduced the retirement of all CRJ200s operated by regional companion PSA Airways.

Additionally in 2020, Delta Air Strains (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) introduced it could section out its 125 CRJ-200s flying underneath the Delta Connection model by the tip of 2023. The choice types a part of Delta’s fleet simplification technique, supposed to modernize and streamline the corporate’s fleet, improve the client expertise, and generate value financial savings.

Knowledge compiled by the Regional Airline Affiliation (RAA) exhibits the variety of 50-seat CRJ200s flown by US carriers declined by greater than 60% between 2008 and 2020 as airways elevated their flying in dual-class 70 to 76-seat regional plane. The variety of E135s, E140s, and E145s with 37 to 50 seats declined by 40%.

The pattern additionally follows a extreme scarcity of skilled captains on regional airways leading to US mainline carriers reducing out smaller routes to give attention to higher-yield dual-class flying. American Airways was pressured to chop out Dubuque (Iowa) and Toledo Specific (Ohio) from Chicago due to the pilot scarcity at capability supplier Envoy Air (MQ, Dallas/Fort Value), which may now be reinstated with Air Wisconsin, studies The Factors Man.

The RAA says the continuing pilot scarcity has led to diminished or misplaced air service at 76% of US airports, in response to revealed schedule knowledge for October 2022 in comparison with the identical 2019 interval. “This interprets to greater than 500 regional plane parked with out pilots to fly them and an related air service retraction at 324 communities,” mentioned RAA chief government Faye Malarkey Black. “Fourteen airports have misplaced all scheduled industrial air service – a quantity that’s nonetheless rising.” The US airline sector is in need of 8,000 pilots.“We’re on the precipice of a wholesale collapse of small group air service,” she warned.

The way forward for 50-seat single-cabin flying was hotly mentioned on the RAA Leaders Convention in Washington DC earlier this yr. Sentiments have been expressed that the present scenario was cyclical and offered a chance to re-visit group providers with smaller plane and do it extra sustainably as new inexperienced applied sciences come on-line. “What do airways do in response to a scarcity of pilots? They fly fewer flights in greater plane. I see a chance coming that may permit us to return and repeat what we did a few years in the past and that might require new plane coming on-line from the producers,” commented CommuteAir (C5, Cleveland Hopkins) Govt Chairman John Sullivan.

Suggestions from MHIRJ Aviation Vice President Ross Mitchell was that airways would return their 50-seat plane to service if they may discover pilots to fly them. “The one benefit that 50-seaters have immediately is that they’re all just about paid for. That helps lots as pilot wages go up. So 50-seaters could be in service however for the shortage of pilots, and if we get pilots , they are going to be again in service, serving small communities,” he mentioned.

Others agreed to the demand for 50-seaters continued to exist as they offered the frequencies that saved small communities related. A brief-term answer of eradicating seats and working paid-for plane underneath Half 135 certification [not subject to the FAA 1,500-hour flight rule imposed on Part 121 operators] was mooted by Republic Airways President and Chief Govt Officer Bryan Bedford. An identical plan has already been actioned by SkyWest Airways, which is migrating about twenty CRJ200s retrofitted with 30-seats to its SkyWest Constitution (CW) subsidiary by Summer season 2023.

The convention additionally heard that within the first 14 months of the pandemic, regional plane flying was monitoring higher than narrowbody flying. Nonetheless, round July 2021, regional plane block hours began to say no and have been in a gradual decline ever since. Damaged down by class, the decline is pushed primarily by the 19 to 50-seater class, whereas 70-seater plane and narrowbodies proceed to realize home market share.

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