Air Transport World

RJs provide lift to recovery: US Airways Express will play a major role in its parent's revival. (Regionals).(regional jets)

One of the first things US Airways did when it emerged from bankruptcy was to declare its order for 175 new regional jets. From the very beginning of the company's reorganization, CEO David Siegel made clear his intentions: The airline would fly its way out of financial disaster on the wings of RJs.

"Regional jets will allow us to replace and complement larger jet aircraft on routes with poor to marginal performance," Siegel said in announcing the $4.3 billion RJ order May 12. "The RJs also will enable us to increase hub feed by adding new markets that were too distant for turboprop aircraft and replacing current turboprop flying, which will please many customers who prefer jet aircraft."

Indeed, US Airways may have crafted what will become the future management model for a number of main line operators. "This is the way of the industry," declares James Parker, MD of Raymond James Associates. "This is the way it is going."

Parker says that although much of the growth of Regional airlines already has taken place, more is in store. He expects the growth in the next few years to come from 70-seat RJs, which will provide hub feed while Major carriers focus attention on international traffic. He also anticipates that in the near future, European and US airlines will fly in each other's markets and foreign ownership restrictions will be removed. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.