Topic Author
Posts: 3901
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2000 5:03 am

What Kind Of Future For The 100-Seater?

Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:14 am

Dear Gang,

What's the future of the 100-seat aircraft? It seems to me the airline industry is in an uncomfortable position right now in regards to this very important size plane. I fly a lot of routes in the Northeastern USA that have old 100-seaters--732's, DC-9-30's, F-100's. This size a/c has been a mainstay in the NE USA since the 1960's. Traffic patterns suggest the market should still be strong. Please forgive me if this topic has been discussed before, but I don't recall any headers that suggest such.

The options aren't attractive. The 717 is an outstanding performer, but it's a stepchild. There are no 125 and 150-seat family versions in the offing. The Boeing 737-600 is part of a popular 100-125-150 seat family, but it hasn't sold at all in the USA. From what I read, the 736 is too heavy and its operating costs too high to step in easily for its 100-seat predecessors.

Airbus dawdled for years before offering the 100-seat A318, which will round out the bottom of an excellent 125-150-175 seat family. But the A318 isn't even going to fly til next year--and its economics may or may not be workable, according to Aviation Week.

Finally of course we have the Canadair and Embraer 100-seaters just over the horizon--the CRJ-90-200 and the Embraer ERJ-90. But these a/c will have commonality with regional a/c the oligopoly carriers don't own. After the Comair pilot strike, the Six Families aren't going to want any more entanglement with their regionals than necessary. Owning a/c whose type commonality is with regional rather than mainline a/c may no longer be attractive.

Would majors really want to surrender 100-seat capacity, a sizeable portion of their traffic, down to the regionals? And one can only imagine what ALPA would think of the majors farming 100-seat ops down to regional carriers. More fireworks than the holiday we in the USA will celebrate tomorrow.

So where is the 100-seater going? What can we pax look forward to in the next five years?

Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
Posts: 843
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2000 8:10 pm

RE: What Kind Of Future For The 100-Seater?

Wed Jul 04, 2001 1:55 am

That is the big question and no answers seem to be coming any time soon. Its a very tough class today, tought o turn a profit in with the heavier aircraft that are shrank. Just like the A318 and the 736 as you stated. The larger regionla jets work but who will fly them. You can't give them to regionals, most have scope limits that limit their size, mainly due to mainline contracts. If you give them to mainline crews then you have them, flying regional jets, with the same type rating as regional carriers. That would be telling the regional pilots that you are correct, you do the same thing as the mainline guys do. So, I doubt you'll ever see them in this area. Bombadier and EMB have all ready stated that they don't plan on selling more then a few to the US carriers, its an aircraft mainly deigned for international carriers.

As for the 717, it is a great aircraft to take over these routes, but it has no family. It would be very expensive to buy 1 aircraft type, with different training, engines, and maintenance from anything else in your fleet. This is especially true in an area where you would make your least amount of money. Lots of up and down type operations, commuter type, with a mainline aircraft, mainline crews, and service.

It will probably come down to the RJ taking over the smaller ones and slightly larger aircarft on the routes that can at leats support that. All ready USAirways has begun to pull the F100 out of some stations and replace it with the EMB jet. United has doen the same, MEM for example had always been a 737-200, now its a CRJ.

These are just my guesses. I'm sure we'll see lots of different ideas soon.