I penned a post a while back reflecting on a time when 50 seat RJ’s were viewed as cool. In yet another example of just how things have changed in the economics of regional jets, American’s regional partner, Envoy Air, has announced that it is reducing its operations in Miami (my first crew base..sniff). According to Reuters,
Envoy will roll back its Miami flights to 37 daily departures from 60 starting Dec. 18, according to a letter that Envoy Chief Executive Officer Pedro Fábregas sent to employees. American instead will contract larger 76-seat planes from Republic for these routes, mostly in and nearby Florida.
Just another sign of how much change has taken place in the airline industry over the last decade. Does anyone else remember when the 50 seat RJ was going to rule the world? I surely remember when they darkened the skies over LaGuardia and locked the airport up every afternoon at 5pm. (I may be showing my age here.)
It’s unfortunate for the employees affected, but larger jets are here to stay. The economics of the 50 seat RJ are untenable at current fuel prices. Speaking from the perspective of a passenger, those 76-seat jets are more comfortable, include a premium cabin product, and are much more in line with a “seemless” travel experience.
-MJ, October 4, 2014