ATLANTIC COAST Airlines (ACA) plans to operate Bombardier Canadair Regional Jets on United Express routes. Nevertheless, ACA is prepared to fly its new 50-seaters as an independent carrier if United Airlines is unable to reach an agreement with its pilots which enables its regional affiliates to fly jet-powered aircraft.

"We are prepared to go both ways, but it is our desire to fly [the Regional Jets] in United colours," says Kerry Skeen, president of United Express carrier ACA. United says that it is talking to its pilots' union about amending their contracts to permit United Express carriers to fly regional jets. "We want to see these aircraft on United Express routes, and not anywhere else," the airline says.

ACA has placed a firm order for 12 Canadair Regional Jet 200ERs, worth $240 million, and taken options on 36 more. Four aircraft will be delivered in 1997 and a further eight in 1998.

The first aircraft will be delivered in July, but will not enter revenue service with Washington Dulles-based ACA until September, says Skeen.

ACA also has ordered 12 of the 29-seat Aero International (Regional) Jetstream 41s for delivery by 1999, by which time the carrier's capacity will have doubled. The airline hopes to retire its 19-seat Jetstream 31s by 2001, Skeen says, although its leases currently run to 2004-5. The Regional Jets will be used on longer-range routes to markets where there is presently no non-stop jet-airliner service, according to Skeen.

Source: Flight International