Embraer and Bombardier senior executives say US regional carrier Trans States Holdings (TSH) did not hold a formal competition between airframers before placing an order earlier this month for up to 100 Mitsubishi Regional Jets.
"There was no new competition for a large order in the timeframe they were talking about. Obviously we talk to Trans States regularly about their needs, but there was no RFP issued for a competition," Bombardier commercial aircraft president Gary Scott told journalists at a briefing in New York at the end of last week.
"So this was a separate discussion that was held, as far as I know, with Mitsubishi only. Let's just say it did not include Bombardier," Scott adds.
GoJet, a unit of TSH, operates Bombardier CRJ700 70-seat regional jets. Bombardier is now developing the 110/130-seat CSeries twinjet, which is expected to enter service in 2013.
Brazilian airframer Embraer, which has supplied Trans States with ERJ-145 regional jets, says that it was also not asked to bid for any new aircraft at Trans States.
"It's not like there was a competing bid and we lost. It's a been a while since we last spoke with Trans States about E-Jets," Embraer CEO Frederico Curado told Flightglobal in an interview in Orlando last week.
The significant size of the order in the lucrative US single-aisle market, adds Curado, has not caused the airframer to accelerate considerations for a new aircraft type in its commercial product portfolio. Curado remains confident the E-Jet family remains a modern platform for regional airlines but adds that "there are not many campaigns out there for anyone".
"I'm not relaxed, but we have a solid product portfolio," says Curado.
Trans States Holdings announced the signing of a letter of intent on 2 October for 50 firm orders plus 50 options for MRJ aircraft, spread across the 70-seat MRJ70, 90-seat MRJ90 and the proposed 100-seat MRJ100.
Although no delivery schedule has been set, TSH vice-president of scheduling Fred Oxley told Flightglobal earlier this month that the first quarter of 2014 is the target to allow the MRJs to replace aircraft operating under existing capacity purchase agreements between regionals and US majors.
Trans States Airlines and GoJet now provide feeders services for United Airlines and US Airways.