MIAMI — Due to the lack of qualified pilots, Republic Airlines will not extend the lease of 27 ERJ140/45 regional jets this year. Additionally, the company will hire about 750 fewer employees as a result of the change. The decision may leave the regional carrier’s Bombardier CSeries order in jeopardy.
Republic pinned the blame on a “significant reduction in qualified pilots who meet the Congressionally mandated 1,500 hour pilot experience rule” . Prior to the new mandate taking effect on January 4, it was mandated that pilots only needed 250 hours.
While the parkage currently only applies to the carriers ERJ140/145 fleet, Republic could potentially cancel its order for 40 CS300 aircraft without penalty if pilot hiring remains an issue into the future. However, the carrier said that the lack of qualified pilots will not have an impact on the order.
Which Aircraft will Depart
The future of 27 ERJ-140/145 aircraft are in question, all of which operate for American Airlines and United. According to an investor update, Republic says removing the aircraft would reduce 2014 revenues by $18 million to $22 million.
It is possible that the removal of the ERJ-140 and ERJ-145 aircraft may occur faster than American and United planned for.
Eight ERJ-140s will be removed this quarter with five being removed in the second quarter and two in the third quarter. At the moment, American was only planning to remove five during the first quarter.
United is planning to slowly remove the ERJ-145s from its fleet during the third and fourth quarters, but Republic plans to remove all of United’s 12 ERJ-145s in the first quarter. Part of United’s ERJ-145s reduction is related to de-hubbing Cleveland.
However, Republic anticipates extending leases on 14 ERJ-145 aircraft on a fixed-fee basis this year. It is likely these aircraft will operate for Delta Air Lines.
Republic Airways Operates:
- 14 ERJ-140 aircraft for American Connection
- 19 Embraer 175 for American Eagle
- 22 ERJ-145 aircraft for Delta Connection
- 15 ERJ-145 and 32 Bombardier Q400 aircraft for United Express
- 38 Embraer 175 aircraft and 20 Embraer 170 aircraft for US Airways Express