MIAMI — United Airlines will begin its first Embraer E175 flights from its hub at Houston on June 15th, less than a month after its first E175 flights begin at Chicago O’Hare on May 17th. The carrier will launch service from Houston to Atlanta and New Orleans beginning June 15th, and from Houston to Austin beginning June 16th. United will also launch E175 service from Chicago O’Hare to Minneapolis St. Paul beginning June 5th, from Chicago O’Hare to Atlanta beginning June 15th, and from Chicago O’Hare to New York La Guardia beginning June 23rd.
The routes from Houston will be operated by United Express partner Mesa Airlines, who will be allocated 30 airframes from United’s outstanding order for 70 E175s, and also operates 20 Bombardier CRJ-700 regional jet aircraft for United. Mesa’s 30 Embraer E175 aircraft will be owned by United.
The routes from Chicago O’Hare will be operated by fellow United Express partner SkyWest Airlines. SkyWest operates 115 regional jets ranging from 50 to 76 seats on behalf of United, and will operate an additional 40 Embraer E175s on United’s behalf starting in the second quarter of 2014. These aircraft will be owned by SkyWest as part of a larger order for 100 Embraer E175 aircraft placed in May 2013. SkyWest also has an order for 100 re-engined Embraer E175 E2 aircraft.
In mid-February, United announced that SkyWest would operate its first E175s on behalf of United from Chicago O’Hare to Washington Reagan beginning May 17th, and from Chicago O’Hare to Boston beginning May 19th.
United’s timetable for the week of June 30th shows that 1 of 9 peak-day departures between Houston and Atlanta is scheduled with the E175. 1 of 11 peak-day departures between Houston and New Orleans and 1 of 11 peak-day departures between Houston and Austin are scheduled with the E175.
At Chicago O’Hare, 4 of 15 peak-day departures to Washington Reagan, 1 of 10 peak day departures to Boston, 4 of 13 peak-day departures to Minneapolis St. Paul, 2 of 7 peak day departures to Atlanta, and 1 of 15 peak-day departures to New York La Guardia will be operated by the E175.
United’s fleet of E175s will be configured with 76 seats in a 3-class configuration, including 12 seats in first class, 16 seats in Economy Plus (premium economy), and 48 seats in economy class.
Over the course of 2014, Untied will add 27 E175 aircraft to scheduled service include 3 aircraft in the second quarter, 14 aircraft in the third quarter, and 10 in the fourth quarter..
United’s addition of 70 E175 aircraft to its fleet is a result of an agreement ratified by its pilots in late 2012 that would allow United to increase its fleet of regional aircraft seating more than 50 passengers from 183 at that moment to 255 by January 2016, including up to 153 regional aircraft seating 76 passengers.
At the end of January 2014, United Express had 572 operational regional jet aircraft according to an SEC filing by the carrier. These 572 aircraft include 391 regional jets and turboprops seating 50 or fewer passengers.
The remaining 181 aircraft seating more than 50 passengers consist of 68 Bombardier CRJ-700 aircraft seating 66 passengers operated by Mesa Airlines, SkyWest Airlines and GoJet Airlines, 47 CRJ-700s seating 70 passengers operated by SkyWest, 38 Embraer E170 aircraft seating 70 passengers operated by Shuttle America, and 31 Bombardier Q400 turboprops seating 71 passengers operated by Republic Airlines.
United has lagged behind rivals like Delta Air Lines, and the new American Airlines in utilizing 70 and 76-seat regional jets to reduce exposure to increasingly uneconomical 50-seat regional jets such as the Embraer E145 and the Bombardier CRJ-200 in regional feed. In particular contrast to Delta, United operates its E145s on several routes extending out to 1,500 miles, whereas Delta has eliminated the use of aircraft without First Class cabins on routes longer than 750 miles.