CommutAir plans for jet growth and accelerated retirement of turboprops
CommutAir has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with United Airlines to add 21 Embraer ERJ145 aircraft to its existing contract to fly 40 jet aircraft under the United Express brand. These jets will replace Bombardier Dash-8 turboprop aircraft with planned retirements by January 2018.
Under the MOU, CommutAir plans to:
- Accelerate the retirement of its 21 Bombardier Dash-8s – with the final exit in January 2018
- Continue accepting Embraer ERJ145 aircraft through 2019 until 61 jets have been inducted
- Offer an improved and attractive hiring incentive program for pilots
Subodh Karnik, CommutAir's President & CEO, said: "This development will allow us to triple in size by 2019, provide tremendous career-growth opportunities for our employees, and help us pursue our vision of 'becoming United's regional airline partner of choice'."
This development follows the 2016 agreement between United Airlines and CommutAir, which resulted in:
- United's purchase of a 40% ownership stake in CommutAir stock, as part of a comprehensive recapitalization
- A new Capacity Purchase Agreement (CPA) to double CommutAir's fleet with 40 ERJ145 aircraft
- United's first, and most expansive, Career Path Program (CPP) to provide CommutAir pilots with a gateway to a United flight deck in as quickly as a year
"Our growing team of 800 plus aviation professionals embrace our family environment and can-do culture and were the driving force behind the successful launch of the Embraer ERJ145 in 2016 – which was faster than the three other operators who undertook similar efforts last year," said Joel Raymond, Chief Operating Officer. "Accelerating Dash-8 retirements and continuing to grow the Embraer ERJ145 fleet will afford our pilots and other employees with leading regional airline industry career advancement opportunities."
As part of its growth plan, CommutAir announced a significant improvement to its Pilot sign-on bonus program and further enhancements to its Career Path Program.