Republic Airways Holdings Inc., which operates the world’s largest fleet of Embraer E-Jets, has placed a firm order for 50 Embraer 175s as part of a three-way deal which will also see it transfer 24 Bombardier Q400 turboprops to UK regional airline Flybe.
Embraer values the Republic Airways Holdings Inc. firm order at $2.1 billion at 2014 list prices. The manufacturer says it will include the order in its 2014 third-quarter backlog.
According to Embraer, the new order is in addition to the contract signed by Republic Airways Holdings Inc. in January 2013 for 47 firm and 47 optioned Embraer 175s, 34 of which have already been delivered. Group subsidiary Republic Airlines is operating these aircraft for American Airlines under the American Eagle brand
In addition to the new order and January 2013 deal, Republic Airways Holdings Inc. holds options on 32 more Embraer 175s.
Republic Airways Holdings Inc. subsidiary Shuttle America will operate the 50 latest Embraer 175s for United Airlines under the United Express brand. United and Shuttle America have signed a 12-year capacity purchase agreement covering the 50 Embraer 175s.
Deliveries of the 50 new, 76-seat Embraer 175 regional jets are scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2015 and will continue into 2017.
Republic’s new Embraer 175 order follows a related transaction. This is the transfer of 24 Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop regional airliners currently operated by group subsidiary Republic Airlines to the UK carrier Flybe Limited.
The transfer of the 24 aircraft to Flybe will begin in March 2015 and continue until September 2016. It will result in Flybe becoming the world’s largest operator of the Bombardier Q400, with a fleet of 69 aircraft.
Concurrently, Flybe and Embraer have agreed to reduce by 20 aircraft Flybe’s outstanding order backlog for 24 Embraer 175s. Accordingly, the new Republic Airways Holdings Inc. firm order will result in a net increase of 30 Embraer 175 jets to Embraer’s third-quarter order backlog.
“Embraer has a long history of working with us to meet our partners’ needs,” says Bryan Bedford, president, chairman and CEO of Republic. “We look forward to working with Embraer, United and Flybe to complete this fleet transition.”
Republic Airways Holdings was one of the first U.S. airline groups to fly Embraer E-Jets, operating its first Embraer 170 in 2004.
With the new 50-aircraft order, the Republic Airways E-Jet fleet will grow to 72 Embraer 170s and 151 Embraer 175s, for a fleet total of 223 E-Jets.
Republic Airways Holdings is also a long-time customer of the Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet family, with 41 in service as Delta Connection aircraft.
At present group carrier Republic Airlines operates 31 Bombardier Q400 NextGens under the United Express brand. The seven aircraft that are not being transferred to Flybe will be sold, leased or returned to lessors, depending on the ownership arrangements for each aircraft.