Matt D
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The Line Between Mainline And Regional

Wed Jun 11, 2003 11:59 am

So WHERE do you draw the distinction between a so called "mainline" jet and a "regional" jet?

With Canadair (or Bombardier, or whatever they're called now) along with Embraer offering larger and larger products, while the big two (Boeing, Airbus) offering smaller and smaller products (interesting paradox there), what is the difference?

10 and 20 years ago, it was a no-brainer. Anything with jets, was a mainline. Anything with propellers was, well a then-called "commuter" plane. There WERE no regional jets.

The first to change all of that, was, arguably British Aerospace with the legendary 146. This remarkable little jet was (IMO years ahead of its time) found much success with both "mainline" AND "commuter" operations. Then the Fokker F-100/F-70 came around. Same story there. Now we have a whole gaggle of "RJ's" to choose from.

But are they? What makes a 717 a "mainline" plane versus the Embraer 190-even though they are both in the same size and capacity class? Why won't USAir operate mainline service with a CRJ-700 when it did with Fokker 28's for years?


[Edited 2003-06-11 05:02:50]

RE: The Line Between Mainline And Regional

Wed Jun 11, 2003 12:11 pm

I place the distinction with the operator.
Arguably, Silk Air was a regional for Singapore, flying narrowbody Boeings and Airbus at the start.

Air Canada operates mainline CRJs (themselves) and regional CRJ's (by AC Jazz).
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RE: The Line Between Mainline And Regional

Wed Jun 11, 2003 12:26 pm

I agree it is the operator, UA mainline, Air Wisconsin commuter!
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RE: The Line Between Mainline And Regional

Wed Jun 11, 2003 12:34 pm

Excellent observation, MattD. I saw Cal/ALPA sticker on an ERJ the other day, talking about XJT. The sticker said (and it was printed this way)"

"REgionAL Airline?
REAL Airline, Real Pay"

I don't think it was appropriate that it was stuck by the door of the aircraft, but it does make a good point: if, on COEX, you can fly from ORF, let's say, make once connection to MEX-all on an RJ, where is the distinction, besides size of the aircraft.

COEX has CLE-SAT nonstops-that used to strictly a mainline, but it can be flown, profitably, with a regional now.

It simply means that the industry is changing quickly, and, whether you like it or not, RJ's are changing the fact of it. Many complain about CLE-MIA XRJ service, but, in 5 years, it will be seen as "yawn, so what?"

Nice one, MattD.
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RE: The Line Between Mainline And Regional

Wed Jun 11, 2003 12:37 pm

Yep its the operator and its intended purpose becasue in many cases the Avros can hold as many or more and outperform the DC-9 family and hold as many as the 717, and can operate in 6 abreast to boot with its wider body. The only ones I see that can really operate as a "mainline" aircraft in the US if is the BAE 146/Avro, the Fokker 100/70 and this new up coming EMB. I just couldnt see the CRJ or ERJ operating with DL or AA mainline but who knows whats the futrue has in store.
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