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US Airways prefers smaller 50-seat RJ fleet

US Airways would like to swap some of its 50-seat regional jets for larger RJs at its regional contract carriers, says Doug Parker, chief executive of the airline.

"If we could tear them [our capacity purchase agreements] up and start over we wouldn't have as many 50-seaters," he says on the contracts that were signed by US Airways prior to its merger with America West Airlines in 2005, in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington DC today.

"We'd like some larger regional jets to offset some of those 50-seaters," says Parker. He adds that he expects this issue to be corrected over time.

US Airways had at least 116 50-seat RJs in operation out of a fleet of 233 RJs at its regional partners at the end of December 2011, according to its 2011 annual report.

Delta Air Lines received approval from its pilots for a similar swap last month. It will add 70 76-seat RJs at its regional partners in exchange for removing 218 50-seat RJs.

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