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Can A Regional Airline Buy A Larger Plane

Sat Mar 29, 2003 3:30 pm

Larger like non-regional, like a 757 (or even a 777 provided their destinations could take 'em).

Like if they needed more capacity on certain routes and their current lineup took up too much space at the gates? Has it happened yet? Or would they be going beyond their category?

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RE: Can A Regional Airline Buy A Larger Plane

Sat Mar 29, 2003 3:37 pm

Can they? Of Course. Would they? Never....

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RE: Can A Regional Airline Buy A Larger Plane

Sat Mar 29, 2003 5:31 pm

They could use 777s or 747s if they want to. The regional title has to do with annual income, not length of routes flown. (Not sure if it's net or gross)

Same goes for all other airline classes.
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RE: Can A Regional Airline Buy A Larger Plane

Sat Mar 29, 2003 7:07 pm

I'm not 100% sure but I think American has some sort of clause over Eagle which prevent Eagle from using large quantities of aircraft over a certain size, 50 seats I think. This is why they went for a large order of ERJ 140's.They van have as many of those as they like and can use.
Still I guess they could have a 777 but I couldn't imagine it used anywhere on the network, it would have to be an hour or more flight and replace 9 ERJ's in a day. Doesn't offer a lot of flexibility.
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RE: Can A Regional Airline Buy A Larger Plane

Sat Mar 29, 2003 10:45 pm

I remember back in the 80s Nordair and Quebecair in Canada (both regional airlines) bought or leased 707s (QB) and DC-8-62s (QB/ND) to fly charter flights even though their scheduled market was relatively regional (Quebec/Ontario (QB) or Quebec/Nunavut/NWTT (ND) ).. so for a carrier flying 737s and smaller they suddenly had planes with intercontinental range. They found a niche charter market to the Caribbean and Europe they could serve outside of their traditional roles as regional carriers. It didn't last long. Both carriers eventually were bought up and merged into Canadian airlines.

[Edited 2003-03-29 14:49:42]

[Edited 2003-03-29 14:50:27]
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RE: Can A Regional Airline Buy A Larger Plane

Sun Mar 30, 2003 3:44 am

They definitely could if their markets made it viable. Piedmont bought 767-200s to fly CLT-LGW, and Piedmont was basically a regional airline (most flights were within the Southeastern U.S.). If a regional airline wanted to boost capacity on certain heavy routes to slot controlled airports (like DCA, LGA, JFK) they could add something like a 757 to add additional seats without changing the number of flights they offer to that city.
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RE: Can A Regional Airline Buy A Larger Plane

Sun Mar 30, 2003 3:56 am

Aby airline can buy any plane, if they have the green. The cannot paint it however they want. Trans States, for instance, couldn't just paint a 738 in American connection colors and start flying from STL to wherever. this would violate Americans scope clasue with their pilots and probably he contract between Trans States and american. it would be more likely with an independant regioanl like big sky used to be, or perhaps like Mesa.
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RE: Can A Regional Airline Buy A Larger Plane

Sun Mar 30, 2003 7:13 am


Isn't TransStates owned by AA now that they bought TW?

Most regionals *are* owned by a major carrier. Eagle is owned by AMR Corp. Comair is owned by Delta. MESA is owned by USAirways.

Can a regional carrier buy/lease and operate a larger carrier? Sure! Why not? Would a regional carrier owned by a major carrier operate them? Not likely. Could a regional carrier own an aircraft that is operated by their parent company? Absolutely.

There's no reason why, for example, Great Plains couldn't buy some old MD-87s and operate those, if they thought it would be profitable and they had the cash.
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RE: Can A Regional Airline Buy A Larger Plane

Sun Mar 30, 2003 7:48 am


You are incorrect.

Eagle is owned by AMR.
Comair and ASA are owned by DAL.
CoEx (Express Jet) is owned by CAL, although I believe it's been IPO'ed.
Piedmont, Allegheny and PSA are owned by US.
Pinnacle (ExpressOne) was IPO'ed by NWAC.
Horizon is owned by AS.
BigSky is owned by Mesaba.
Chicago Express is owned by ATA.


Mesa (HP, US, F9) is independent (note that Mesa has over a half dozen alter-ego airlines that it owns/operates as independent entities).
SkyWest (DL, UA) is independent.
ACA (DL, UA) is independent.
Chautauqua (DL, US) is independent.
Trans-states (AA) is independent.
Air Wisconsin (UA, F1) is independent.
Mesaba (NW) is independent.
Great Lakes (UA, F9) is indepenedent.
Colgan Air (US) is independent.
Gulfstream (CO) is indedendent.

As you can see from this short and incomplete list that independents outnumber wholly-owneds.

Back to the original question, most regional carriers cannot purchase "larger" aircraft because the pilots unions of the mainline affiliates often place caps on the equipment their "feeders" can operate - it's a form of job protection. Where management at mainline carriers able to feed out mainline growth to regional carriers at regional costs, they would - but the pilots unions have protected themselves with scope clauses, etc. Force majeure has seen the lifting of some fleet size restrictions, but I don't think management will ever be able to weasal 73s, 75s, or any other mainline equipment into their regional affiliates.
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RE: Can A Regional Airline Buy A Larger Plane

Sun Mar 30, 2003 2:44 pm

Remember when Mesaba bought 737's and set up AirTran? The NW pilots had a fit and they were forced to sell AirTran, which later merged with ValuJet and is now, yes, you guessed it....AIRTRAN!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
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RE: Can A Regional Airline Buy A Larger Plane

Sun Mar 30, 2003 2:47 pm

Trans States also does work for USAirways express as well as AA connection. Chautauqua is an independant regional that does work for AA Connection, USAirways Express, Delta Connection, and America West Express.

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