Trans States Holdings is targeting the MRJs the carrier has ordered to replace aircraft operating under existing capacity purchase agreements between regionals and US majors that expire in the 2014 timeframe.

The St. Louis-based operator has snapped a lull in MRJ orders through a firm order for 50 aircraft and 50 options. ANA ordered 15 aircraft and took options for 10 additional planes in March 2008.

Company VP of scheduling Fred Oxley tells ATI the MRJ is part of Trans States' strategy to compete for contract renewals between network and regional carriers that expire around 2014. No hard delivery date has been set for the MRJs to Trans States, but Oxley says the first quarter of 2014 is the delivery target.

Oxley explains the timing of the MRJ rolling off the line coincides with a lot of opportunities arising in the US regional sector. "That is what we are looking at," he explains.

Trans States has not settled on a specific seating configuration for its MRJ aircraft. Oxley says that is largely dependent on the types of agreements the company is able to secure with US majors.

Oxley describes Bombardier's CSeries and Embraer's E-Jet family as great aircraft. But attributes he cites of the MRJ include the Pratt & Whitney PurePower geared turbofan and the interior. He also describes the MRJ as more green aircraft in terms of noise and emissions.

Oxley is confident of Trans States' ability to secure financing for the MRJs. "We think we're not going to have any trouble financing the aircraft."

Trans States Holdings has two subsidiaries that operate 50 and 70-seat jets for US major carriers United and US Airways.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news