ANALYSIS: United cuts seats with initial E175 schedule

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United Airlines will decrease seat capacity slightly across the 10 initial routes that it has announced for its new Embraer 175 aircraft.

Weekday seat capacity will drop 2.4% to about 9,281 seats on the routes, based on schedules available on the Chicago-based Star Alliance carrier’s website. An equal number of routes will see seat capacity increases and decreases.

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Flightglobal

Flightglobal compared the seat capacity on the day or first weekday after the E175 enters service on the specified route to the same day a week earlier for its analysis. Seat capacity was calculated using the largest or most common aircraft seating configuration listed on United’s website.

E175 flights from Chicago O’Hare to Washington National begin on 17 May, Boston Logan on 19 May, Minneapolis/St. Paul on 5 June, Atlanta on 14 June and New York LaGuardia on 23 June. Flights from Houston Intercontinental to Austin, Atlanta and New Orleans begin 15 June.

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Flightglobal/Great Circle Mapper

Out of Chicago O’Hare, seat capacity will decrease to Boston, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Washington National. The E175s largely replace mainline aircraft, including 150-seat Airbus A320s, 118-seat Boeing 737-700s and 154-seat 737-800s, in these markets.

Seat capacity will increase between O’Hare and Atlanta and New York LaGuardia. United will replace 70-seat Embraer 170s on both routes.

Out of Houston Intercontinental, seat capacity will increase to both Atlanta and New Orleans as United replaces 50-seat Embraer ERJ145s on both routes. Capacity will decrease to Austin where the E175 replaces a 737-800.

The 76-seat E175s are configured with 12 seats in first class, 16 in economy plus and 48 in economy.

United’s seat capacity strategy with the E175s differs from American Airlines’ introduction of the same type in 2013. The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier increased capacity on 10 of the 12 initial routes from Chicago O’Hare that it announced for the aircraft prior to its entry into service with the airline.

American and United will compete with E175s on flights between Chicago O’Hare and Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York LaGuardia and Washington National, Innovata schedules show.

United plans to add 27 E175s and remove 34 ERJ135s and ERJ145s from its regional fleet in 2014, according to its most recent fleet plan.

SkyWest Airlines is scheduled to take delivery of eight aircraft and Mesa Airlines six aircraft by 15 June, shows Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database. All but one of the aircraft will be the E175 enhanced variant with improved fuel burn.

Mesa and SkyWest will operate the aircraft under contract for United