Does Congress + Regional Jets = Better Service?

Tue Jun 22, 1999 1:07 pm

In a few weeks time congress will vote on the aviation bill which will eliminate slot restrictions at ORD in 2002 and JFK/LGA in 2008 & creat more slots at DCA, The legislation will eliminate them immediatly for RJs. Recently US Airways added a bunch of flights with RJ from LGA, AA is always shuffling Eagel flights especially out of ORD & of course AA just sent RJs on hub raid duty on LGA-CLE. Might all this do is help the majors bolster their position in these terribly important markets? Will the bill accompolish its goals of encouraging jet service and lower fares to small and mid sized cities?


RE: Does Congress + Regional Jets = Better Service?

Tue Jun 22, 1999 1:23 pm

While I think that these bills will help airlines fortify their positions at their respective hubs, I think that it will also help increase service to smaller cities. For example, on June 11, American Eagle announced that it will discontinue service to the Quad City Airport in Moline, IL. The reason cited for this was slot constraints at O'Hare. Eagle said that, given the limited opportunities at O'Hare, they had to allocate their slots where they would generate the most revenue. Were slots not an issue at ORD, Eagle could have kept these flights on while simultaneously increasing service in more lucrative markets.
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RE: Does Congress + Regional Jets = Better Service?

Tue Jun 22, 1999 2:02 pm

Purdue Cadet is absoloutely right. Dont forget that the smaller RJs are about to enter the scene. If AE cant make money with a 50st. RJ145, shuffling to a 37st. 135 will likely do the trick. The smaller jets(Do328JET, ERJ-135) will allow increased services to smaller markets, as well as replacing earlier Saabs, EMB-120s, J41s, and even some 19 seaters. AA has 95 ERJ-135s on order. That many planes will bring many, many new routes. They are not entirely intended to replace the Saab 340s. In fact, AE just extended the leases on some of the turboprops through 2008!

RE: Does Congress + Regional Jets = Better Service?

Tue Jun 22, 1999 3:36 pm

I think that, if RJ slots are removed from ORD, we will see American Eagle jsut expode there. If you look at their current schedule, the smallest plane they fly there is the ATR-42. That means that they currently only serve markets large enough to handle that plane, due to the fact that they need the greatest return for each slot they use. If slots become a non-issue, I think that Eagle will be able to commence service to a lot of markets that can support only Saab 340s or ERJ-135s. These planes currently don't fly to O'Hare for Eagle, because their markets just aren't as lucrative as the larger ones. When slots are gone, however, Eagle can justify the less lucrative, but still profitable, smaller markets that they currently don't serve.

My feeling, though really just a guess, is that AMRs current plan to is deploy ERJ-135s in their largest Saab market, the LAX hub. If, however, ORD loses its slots, they will probably use them to expand there to further compete against UA. United Express already serves these markets with Beech 1900s, because United mainline has more jet slots than American to use on flights to borderline cities like Indianapolis. United flies there, but American uses Eagle due to a lack of large jet slots. I think that ORD doing away with RJ slots, then phasing out large jet slots, will be great for American. but not so good for UA.
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RE: Does Congress + Regional Jets = Better Service?

Thu Jun 24, 1999 7:23 am

Purdue Cadet is forgetting about his own career aspirations. (I am assuming he wishes to become an airline pilot)
With the exception of Comair, very few RJ's are being used to replace regional aircraft in regional markets. US Airways Express, American Eagle, United Express, and in some cases Continental Express are connecting large city pairs with the RJ. In fact, many of these "new" RJ routes were, in fact, mainline jet routes. DC9,737, and F100 routes have been "downsized" by the use of the RJ. This takes jobs from mainline pilots and puts them in the hand of $18,000/yr regional pilots. By the time Purdue Cadet is prepared to fly with a major airline, there will be even fewer jobs due to the fact that regionals fly 30, 50 and soon 70 and 100 seat "regional" jets for much much lower pay, and much fewer benefits.
It is time for the regional pilots to band together with ALPA and their mainline counterparts and refuse to fly this equipment until it is put on a mainline seniority list with pay and benefits comiserate with the size and technology of the airplane they fly. If not, I'm afraid that "major airline pilot" will be a title reserved for the very few transcontinental and international pilots that remain at 'major' airlines.

Example? American Eagle - ORD to PIT or BWI
US Airways Express - LGA-IND....starting to see the picture? Those are mainline routes and should be flown by mainline pilots.

RE: Does Congress + Regional Jets = Better Service?

Thu Jun 24, 1999 8:42 am

While American Eagle is opening new routes with the ERJ-145, they are also using them to replace current Eagle service (i.e. ORD-IND) and to augment current AA service (i.e. ORD-ISP). There are no markets in which American Eagle has replaced mainline American flying that I'm aware of. If you know of one, what is it? American did not fly ORD-BWI prior to Eagle beginning service, nor did they fly ORD-PIT. If those could truly be operated as mainline routes, Eagle would not be able to satisfy the demand using 50 seat jets. Eagle currently flies 5 time a day ORD-BWI, for a total of only 250 seats. For American to operate this capacity, they would have to reduce to 2 flights a day, and severly limit the convenience to passengers. Flights currently depart from 615 am to 830 pm, with an average of 3-4 hours between departures. Who knows if the demand is even there at any one time for American to fill a 139 seat aircraft? As for Pittsburg, Eagle currently flies there 4 times a day, only 200 seats, again spread out over the whole day. Perhaps the time will come when AMR has established itself enough in these markets to commence mainline service, but until there is sufficient demand, the RJs make more sense.

By the way, some people learn to fly out of love for it, not to get the fat paycheck. While it would be nice to bring home a six figure salary, I would fly for less. As long as I'm making enough to get by, and I'm still getting to do what I love, I'd be happy. I don't think that any of Eagle's RJ pilots are new enough to be making $18,000 a year.

One last thing - I believe that most of the reason that Eagle does so much flying out of O'Hare comes down to slots. United, with their wealth of mainline slots, has shown us that routes such as ORD-IND can be done with large planes, American just doesn't have the slots. Eagle has them, so Eagle gets to use them.

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