More Republic E170s to fly for Delta

 - May 27, 2011, 5:20 AM

An amendment to Republic Airways’ capacity purchase agreement with Delta Air Lines will allow it to add six dual-class Embraer E170s to the Delta Connection network, Republic announced in late April. The move follows a previously announced amendment in January that added eight Republic E170s to its Delta capacity purchase agreement.

The contract calls for a six-year term of service for Delta. Republic expects to start moving the airplanes from its Frontier Airlines operation next month until all six enter Delta Connection service by October 1. By then Republic and its subsidiaries will operate 16 E175s, 14 E170s and 24 ERJ 145s for Delta.  

The fleet reallocation furthers Republic’s plans to remove all E170s from the Frontier operation and provides the company the opportunity “to make network adjustments and capacity reductions to create better efficiency and lower costs for the branded operation.” The company now expects this year’s capacity, as measured by ASMs, either to stay flat or grow up to 1 percent on its Frontier operations.

“These fleet adjustments between our contract and branded operations allow us to maximize our aircraft portfolio in the most cost-effective way,” said Bryan Bedford, chairman, president and CEO of Republic Airways. “In light of current oil prices we will continue to focus on developing Frontier’s most successful and profitable routes while managing capacity at responsible levels.”

Republic also plans to remove three of its six 37-seat Embraer ERJ 135s from its Chautauqua Airlines fleet at the end of their lease term this September. Those airplanes, formerly flown under the Midwest Airlines brand, now fly as Frontier Express out of Milwaukee. Meanwhile, the six E190s on firm order, scheduled for delivery in this year’s third and fourth quarters, will arrive some two months late due in part to delays stemming from the earthquake in Japan. Republic now plans to spread the delivery of those aircraft through the first quarter of next year.

Bedford said the supply-chain interruption involved engine electronics for the E190’s GE CF34-10E turbofans. GE identified the Japanese supplier in question as IHI, whose two engine factories based in the east coast city of Soma suffered earthquake damage and related losses worth an estimated 10.5 billion yen ($131 million). IHI serves as a revenue-sharing participant in the CF34 engine program and produces low-pressure turbine rotating components and module assemblies along with compressor airfoils, as well as the mid-fan shaft for the CF34-10E.