United outlines plans to remove more than 100 small jets by 2015

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United Airlines could remove more than 100 50-seat regional jets by the end of 2015, as the aircraft come off contracts with regional providers.

The Chicago-based carrier will take delivery of 70 Embraer 175s configured with 76 seats that are about 10% more fuel efficient than the small jets they replace, said Jeff Smisek, chief executive of United, at the Deutsche Bank Global Industrials and Basic Materials Conference on 4 June.

The more than 100 number is the most specific guidance that United has provided on its small regional jet removal plans to date.

Based on its 2014 fleet plan, the airline will remove more than 57 either Bombardier CRJ200s or Embraer ERJ-145s in 2015. This follows the removal of 43 of the variants in 2014.

United plans to add 27 E175s to its regional fleet in 2014 and another 46 in 2015, its senior vice-president of United Express Sandra Pineau-Boddison told Flightglobal in May.

“[This will permit us] to restrict those 50-seat jets to markets that are shorter haul markets and thus are something that is better for our customers as well,” says Smisek on the E175 deliveries.

United will see its regional fleet count shrink by at least 30 aircraft to roughly 542 aircraft at the end of 2015, based on these numbers.

The shift to E175s is part of the larger project quality – a programme aimed at reducing costs through things like fuel savings and productivity improvements by $2 billion by 2015.