Republic Airways Holdings is pushing ahead with plans to take 28 Embraer 170s from US Airways, after acquiring three aircraft awaiting delivery to the US major airline. Leased from GE Commercial Aviation Services, the aircraft will be flown by the company’s startup Republic Airlines, operating as US Airways Express.

The three aircraft are part of a larger $100 million deal with the bankrupt major that will see Republic acquire 25 owned and leased E-170s now operated by US Airways’ MidAtlantic Airways subsidiary, as well as airport slots and other assets.

The deal was expected to be finalised in July. Both carriers decline to comment on the delay.

Republic Airlines finally received US Federal Aviation Administration certification late last month after a near 30-month effort to secure approval to operate the E-170s. The carrier planned to launch operations on 4 September.

The remaining 25 US Airways E-170s are expected to be transferred to Republic over the next 12 months. The transaction has been opposed by the major airline’s labour groups, with pilot and flight attendant unions alleging the handover of the 70-seaters represents a change in control rather than a transfer of assets, a distinction that will decide whether Republic is obliged to provide jobs for MidAtlantic’s 850 employees.

An arbitration board is expected to rule shortly.

Source: Flight International