Regional plans to add capacity to US Airways feed and possibly launch new partnership

Trans States Airlines (TSA) is discussing a deal with Embraer for up to 40 more ERJ-145s and larger 170s to add capacity to its US Airways Express feed and provide aircraft for a possible new regional partnership. Republic Airways Holdings is also buying 12 more ERJ-145LRs to bolster its US Airways network.

"We're working with Embraer on a package of aircraft and financing, which is a real challenge. They have given us delivery positions on up to 40 aircraft, but based on financing in hand or what we can get, we feel eight to 12 is a better number and we'll keep the others as options," says Richard Leach, chief operating officer.

TSA's principal interest is in the ERJ-145, with 22 of the 50-seaters in its fleet. The carrier's pilots have agreed to US Airways' jets-for-jobs programme, which would allow it to increase the number of jets in Express service providing 50% are crewed by furloughed mainline crews. TSA has 12 ERJ-145s serving US Airways' Pittsburgh hub with the rest flying under American Airlines' Connection banner.

"We're looking at other growth opportunities and have been approached. We've asked for delivery options on the 170 as the others we're talking to are interested in the aircraft," says Leach. US Airways' pilots' agreement restricts the use of 170s to its new MidAtlantic Airlines division. As a result, TSA is evaluating the Bombardier CRJ700.

Republic's ERJ-145 order goes part way to filling the 32 extra regional jet rights allocated by US Airways under the jets-for-jobs scheme, while six 50-seaters are being acquired from Axon of Greece.

Nine of the 12 new jets will go to the planned new start-up Republic Airlines starting from October and the rest to Chautauqua Airlines.

Source: Flight International