New Republic E-190s seen as E-170 and ERJ replacements

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Once Republic Airways Holdings "nails down some open points" in its letter of intent for 24 Embraer E-190 family aircraft, the larger examples will likely replace E-170 and ERJ-145 aircraft currently operated in Republic's branded Frontier operations.

Republic chief executive Bryan Bedford offered that assessment during a 4 August earnings call after the company singed its LOI for 24 E-Jets at last month's Farnborough Air Show. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in mid-2011 and continue through mid-2012.

The E-190 family order allows Republic the flexibility to grow its fleet if the economy is strong, or allows the company to replace 50-seat ERJ-145s and E-170s, "which are high cost aircraft compared to our competitors", says Bedford.

Citing high demand for Frontier's product Bedford states: "We need to be able to offer it at the most competitive price possible. The 190/195 quite frankly gives us the most competitive cost structure compared to other 100-seat aircraft that we're flying up against."

Frontier's major competitor in Milwaukee AirTran operates Boeing 717s and 737s and some regional jets through a pro-rate deal with SkyWest, who operates the aircraft in an independent operation. At Denver Frontier largely competes with United's mainline and regional jets and Southwest's 737s.

Frontier vice president of planning and strategy Daniel Shurz says a key benefit of the E-190 family is achieving a cost per available seat mile "that is much more competitive on an airplane that is capable of reaching both coasts from both our hubs".

Republic has also ordered 40 Bombardier CSeries CS300 aircraft configured with 138 seats with deliveries scheduled to being in mid-2015.