American Airlines began its regional refleeting with its first flight on an Embraer 175 today.
American 4802 to New Orleans, which departed Chicago O’Hare six minutes late at 08:51 local time according to the airline’s website, will be the first flight on the 76-seat aircraft operated by Republic Airlines as American Eagle. Flights from Chicago to Albuquerque and Pittsburgh will begin later today with an initial two aircraft.
There will be festivities in New Orleans today and Pittsburgh tomorrow, according to the Fort Worth-based carrier. The airline held an event at O’Hare on 31 July.
The E-175s will be used to replace 37-seat Embraer 135s, which will exit the American Eagle fleet by the end of the year, and 64-seat ATR 72s, which had been complete removed by the end of June. American is also expected to reduce the number of 44- to 50-seat regional jets in its fleet as more E-Jets arrive.
American anticipates having 15 E-175s in its fleet by the end of the year and 47 by the first quarter of 2015.
In addition to replacement, the bigger issue is to “right size”, to paraphrase American’s vice-president of network planning Charles Shubert, the carrier’s fleet. The aircraft will give it a scheduling option between 65-seat Bombardier CRJ700s and 128-seat Airbus A319s, which is can be especially useful at off peak times in busy markets and during peak times on thinner routes.
The aircraft are outfitted with 12 first class, 20 main cabin extra (American’s extra legroom offering) and 44 economy seats.
The E-175s will ramp up fast at American. Service will expand to Kansas City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Toronto Pearson and Washington National on 27 August, and to Houston Intercontinental, Newark, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and San Antonio on 1 October.
But that’s not all from American folks, the airline’s A319s will enter service on 16 September followed by its Airbus A321s in the fourth quarter.