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US major airlines continue their push to shed 50-seat jets as upgauging sweeps the industry

The three large US global airlines are continuing their quest to shed inefficient 50-seat jets in favour of larger gauge aircraft, a trend sweeping the US industry with nearly every major airline undertaking some form of seat densification on existing aircraft or taking delivery of jets configured with a higher number of seats.

United and Delta are opting to replace their 50-seat jets with a mix of new and used aircraft, and American appears to be adding new jets to replace its 50-seat aircraft. Based on current fleet projections American is moving more slowly in culling its 50-seat regional jets while Delta has been the most vocal and aggressive in shedding the smaller aircraft.

Even with the big push to shrink the 50-seat jet fleet, some US majors are extending contracts with their regional partners covering a small number of those aircraft. Perhaps in a few markets lower fuel prices improve the economics of the jets; but overall airlines are marching ahead to rid themselves of aircraft that were a mainstay in regional operations a decade ago.

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