MIAMI – Amid news about stored, parked, or alienated aircraft, one exception stands out like a white dot on a black background: CommutAir (C5).
Nine months ago, the Cleveland-based airline had a fleet of 37 aircraft and two hubs. Today, it has 168 aircraft – of which 66 are Embraer ERJ-145 twin jets and in revenue service – standing out as an exception in this highly critical period where most of the airlines’ announcements relate to resizing or restructuring.
The reason behind this success is due to cooperation and C5 is taking full advantage of it as a supplier of commuter services to a major airline United Airlines (UA), operating flights for UA itself and United Express.
CommutAir Extended Network, Hubs
The airline today flies out of four hubs, Newark (EWR), Washington-Dulles (IAD), Houston (IAH), and Denver (DEN) where operations started on March 28. Besides hubs, C5 has a maintenance base in Albany as well as a 47,000 sqft maintenance hangar and a 50,000 sqft training center in IAH.
In addition, C5 maintains the largest E145 fleet in the world. After modifying and extending its CPA (Capacity Purchase Agreement), the carrier became UA’s sole operator of the ERJ-145 regional jet.
Pilots Being Hired
Another counter tendency particular of C5 is that the carrier is actually hiring pilots – 200 of them in the first quarter of 2021- to support its rapid growth and has plans to hire 400 more up to year’s end.
The airline is also part of Aviate, UA’s program for pilot development. C5 pilots, which are part of the dev program, may transition to UA as First Officers once satisfying hiring requirements.
Rick Hoefling, C5 President and CEO. expressed its satisfaction on the start of operations in DEN and commented by stating “Our people have worked incredibly hard, once again, to safely and efficiently bring a new hub online. CommutAir’s growth in the last nine months – doubling our geographic footprint and growing our active fleet by more than 60 percent – is as impressive as all of you who have made this opportunity a reality.”
Featured image: A CommutAir ERJ-145XR operating as United Express approaching Newark Liberty International Airport. Photo: By Adam Moreira (AEMoreira042281) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80754904