What is to become of me? The question, memorably posed by Eliza Doolittle in the musical My Fair Lady, must surely be on the minds of Embraer executives these days when considering the ERJ-135. The 37-seater is playing a fast-diminishing role in the
Continental Airlines has just brokered a new feeder deal with ExpressJet that will see the regional's 30 ERJ-135s culled (Wells Fargo Bank appears to own the lot of them). AMR is slashing regional capacity at its American Eagle subsidiary; the unit's 38 ERJ-135s are widely expected to be the first to go.
Additionally, an amended agreement between Republic Airways Holdings and Delta Air Lines will see the company remove from service all 15 of its Chautauqua-flown ERJ-135s at a rate of two aircraft per month beginning in September 2008.
"We expect to sell these aircraft to Embraer or another party as the aircraft are removed from service," says Republic.
This "does not leave many E-135s flying, but I am not surprised, with today's fuel price, the aircraft is not economically viable", says Saab Aircraft Leasing president and CEO Michael Magnusson.
But could someone launch a corporate conversion programme and would this be supported by Embraer, which manufacturers its own corporate version of the ERJ-135, the Legacy 600?
Magnusson says: "Personally I think they are 'toast' unless they can be turned into corporate aircraft. They are too expensive for the cargo market."