American focuses on split large regional jet order

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American Airlines is considering splitting its long-expected large regional jet order between Bombardier and Embraer, a source tells Flightglobal.

The order is understood include roughly 60 Embraer 175 and roughly 30 Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft configured with 76 seats, they say. A finalised deal is expected soon.

One of Fort Worth, Texas-based American’s regional partners will operate the aircraft, including its wholly-owned subsidiary PSA Airlines whose pilots ratified a contract to fly at least 30 76-seat regional jets in September.

A portion of the order are likely replace some of its up to 50-seat regional jets. The combined US Airways and American fleet included 330 of these smaller jets at the end of September.

American and US Airways merged under the former’s name on 9 December.

According to Bombardier, the airline is “about to announce” a decision on its large regional jet order. The airframer declines to comment further.

American declines to comment.

Legacy American and its adviser SkyWorks Capital have been in discussions with both Bombardier and Embraer regarding the order since at least the beginning of 2013, dubbing it “project Panama” in bankruptcy court documents.

The airline had planned to firm up the order in the third quarter, however, this was postponed when its exit from bankruptcy was delayed by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) challenge to its merger with US Airways in August.

"American intended to finance the purchases of these new aircraft with favourable export credit financing," American said in a filing with the district court in August. "However, this type of financing will only be available to American after it emerges from bankruptcy."

American and US Airways reached a settlement with the DOJ in November that allowed their merger to proceed and the former to exit bankruptcy on 9 December.

Embraer was not immediately available for comment.