American Airlines just placed an order for Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets. They placed another order for Embraer EMB-175 regional jets. Both types of planes are 76 seat aircraft that will be flown by American’s regional partners.
Even though the carrier says they’re trying to simplify their fleet, operate fewer aircraft types and subfleets, they’re doubling down on flying similar competitor products.
Their regional partners, including wholly owned carriers like Envoy Air and PSA, fly CR7s, Embraer 140s and 145s, and even CRJ-200s. Regional jets with 50 seats and below don’t offer a first class cabin. While most of American’s regional fleet offers internet, most lacks seat power.
American’s Vice President – Planning Vasu Raja explained to employees at Chicago O’Hare last week how they assign regional jets to different routes. And it turns out much of it comes down to ‘trial and error’.
How do we put especially the premium RJs in some markets versus others? … the more bases we stretch a regional operator into the more risk we put on their operation, so we try to consolidate our regional operators into fewer bases which has the necessary byproduct where you only have certain fleet types you can access in a place like Chicago. It’s what Envoy and SkyWest can effectively bring to the table.
… The fifty seaters are single class and the rest of the RJs are increasingly going to dual class, then it’s more of trial and error to be quite honest with you. We put the larger RJs in markets that have stronger aggregate demand. … If you’re seeing a case where there’s value in putting a premium product in some of those markets we make schedules so often we’ll just go try it. We’ll move it there and see how it works out for a defined period of time, and indeed if it’s producing the kind of P&L result we all want then we’ll go and keep it there. So it’s largely trial and error, typically in general the large RJ goes to places where the demand is higher.
The next time I draw an Embraer ERJ-140 I may email Vasu Raja in hopes of a plane with first class!