United Airlines (Chicago) today (September 17) announced the company will amend its existing agreement with regional carrier Shuttle America, to add 50 Embraer E175 aircraft. Shuttle America‘s (Indianapolis) parent company, Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Indianapolis), will determine which of its carriers will operate the new 76-seat aircraft under the United Express brand.
United anticipates deliveries will begin in July 2015 and continue through the summer of 2017. The new aircraft will replace large turboprop airplanes and older, less-efficient aircraft and are in addition to 70 E175s whose deliveries began this year for other carriers to operate as United Express.
The E175s will offer 12 seats in United First and 64 seats in United Economy, including 16 extra-legroom United Economy Plus seats. The aircraft also offer more personal space for customers, with wider seats and aisles than other regional aircraft; a power outlet at each United First seat; and large overhead bins that can accommodate standard-size carry-on bags.
Additional Fleet Updates:
In addition to expanding the E175 fleet, United plans to make the following changes to its United Express service:
1. Extend the airline’s agreement with Shuttle America on 38 E170s, with new expiration dates beginning in September 2019 and continuing through December 2022; and
2. Begin removing, in 2015, 31 Bombardier Q400s operated by Republic Airlines, a carrier also owned by Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (some of the aircraft will go to Flybe).
In related news, Embraer S.A. and Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Indianapolis), operator of the largest E-Jets fleet in the world, announced a contract today for the sale and purchase of 50 firm E175 jets. The value of the firm order, which will be included in Embraer’s 2014 third-quarter backlog, is estimated at $2.1 billion, based on 2014 list prices. The aircraft will be operated for United Airlines under the United Express brand. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2015 and extend until 2017.
This contract is in addition to the order signed by Embraer and Republic in January 2013 for 47 firm and 47 option E175s – 34 of which have already been delivered. In addition to the new order, Republic maintains 32 options for E175s.
This transaction is in connection with the transfer of Q400 turboprop airplanes currently operated by Republic Airlines to UK’s carrier Flybe Limited. Concurrently, Flybe and Embraer have agreed to reduce by 20 the outstanding order for 24 E175’s the airline has on order backlog. Therefore, the net increase to Embraer’s backlog in the 3rd quarter will be 30 E175 jets.
Republic Airways was one of the first U.S. carriers to fly Embraer E-Jets, operating its first E170 in 2004. With this new order, the Republic Airways E-Jet fleet will consist of 72 E170s and 151 E175s for a total of 223 E-Jets. Republic Airways is also a long-time customer of the ERJ 145 regional jet family with 41 flying as Delta Connection aircraft.
Finally, United Airlines launched its Mercedes-Benz tarmac transportation service at Denver International Airport, offering chauffeured convenience at more airports than any other carrier. With this expansion, United offers the service at all of its U.S. hub airports.
The Mercedes-Benz tarmac transportation service provides the airline’s top frequent flyers with greater comfort and convenience, offering an additional way for these customers to save valuable time when connecting through the airline’s hubs. United will chauffeur selected Global Services members and United Global First customers to their connections in Denver in a Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC SUV, powered by environmentally friendly, clean diesel technology.
United representatives will meet customers at the aircraft, escort them to the waiting Mercedes-Benz vehicle and drive them across the tarmac to their connecting flight. The expediting service gives priority to customers with close connections.
United also offers the transfer service at its hub airports in Chicago, Houston, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington Dulles.
Along with tarmac transportation, the airline and Mercedes-Benz USA partner to provide promotional packages and bonus miles to United’s MileagePlus Premier members, which include Global Services members, who purchase or lease certain new Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Current offers are available at united.com/Mercedes.
Earlier this year, United opened a new Global Services reception lobby for its top frequent flyers at the airline’s New York hub at Newark Liberty International airport. In October, the airline will open a Global Services reception lobby at San Francisco International Airport. In June, United unveiled an all-new United Club airport lounge and United Global First Lounge at London Heathrow International Airport’s new Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal.
Top Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Shuttle America currently operates 38 Embraer ERJ 170-100SE aircraft for United Airlines under the United Express brand. N637RW (msn 17000051) arrives at Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA).
Bottom Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Republic Airlines (2nd) currently operates 31 Bombardier DHC-8-402s (Q400s) for United Airlines at its hubs. N202WQ (msn 4202) arrives at Raleigh-Durham (RDU).