Incredible: CommutAir Expansion Brings The Carrier To Denver

United Airlines made some big changes to its regional operations last year. One of them included consolidating its Embraer ERJ145 operations with just one carrier. The winner for the Embraer ERJ145 operations was CommutAir. As CommutAir takes over more Embraer ERJ145s that formerly flew for other airlines, the carrier has seen an incredible expansion in its routes, fleet, and hubs, with the most recent hub addition being Denver.

E145 Denver
CommutAir is finally in Denver with its Embraer ERJ145s flying under the United Express banner. Photograph courtesy of Denver International Airport.

CommutAir arrives in Denver

CommutAir started operating out of its new home in one of United’s most important hubs, Denver, just a few days ago. Nine months ago, the carrier only had 37 aircraft in service operating from two hubs. Now, after United decided to consolidate its Embraer ERJ145 flying with one carrier, CommutAir proved victorious and has 168 aircraft in its fleet with 60 in revenue service.

The has also expanded its operations to four United Airlines hubs:

  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

Rick Hoefling, President and CEO of CommutAir, stated the following when the airline officially started operating out of DEN:

“We are thrilled to start operations in Denver today. Our people have worked incredibly hard, once again, to safely and efficiently bring a new hub online. CommutAir’s growth in the last nine months – doubling our geographic footprint and growing our active fleet by more than 60 percent – is as impressive as all of you who have made this opportunity a reality.”

CommutAIr Denver
Denver is one of United’s largest and most important hubs, so CommutAir’s Denver expansion is a natural extension of its operations for United. Photograph courtesy of Denver International Airport

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United consolidates regional operators

At the start of 2020, United Airlines flew 175 Embraer ERJ145s in revenue service across three carriers:

  • ExpressJet with 95 in service
  • Trans States with 43 in service
  • CommutAir with 37 in service

In July 2020, United decided to consolidate its Embraer ERJ145 operations with one regional partner. The carrier chose CommutAir and decided to end its partnerships with ExpressJet. Trans States had already announced plans to cease operations before the crisis hit but accelerated that timeline to early April.

As part of the move to a single ERJ145 operator, United is working on transferring all of those regional jets over to CommutAir. This now makes CommutAir the world’s largest operator of ERJ145 aircraft.

United E145
United opted to consolidate its ERJ145 flying last year with CommutAir. Photo: Getty Images

United started 2021 with 49 jets flying for CommutAir with plans to transition another 119 Embraer ERJ145s over to CommutAir throughout 2021 and 2022. This will bring CommutAir to a total of 168 Embraer ERJ145 jets in operation for United Airlines.

About CommutAir

CommutAir is a regional carrier in the United States. The airline does not operate its own flights but instead operates regional jets on behalf of United Airlines. Regional carrier models like CommutAir are popular in the US and allow carriers to outsource regional jet operations to operators that can fly it cheaper than a mainline flight.

As a regional carrier, CommutAir primarily flies its smaller jets to secondary destinations across the United States on behalf of United Airlines. Its largest hub is in Houston, from which it mostly serves the Southern US, but it is growing.

CommutAir April
The current CommutAir route network for April 2021. Photo: CommutAir

The ERJ145s touch many of United’s hubs. So, as CommutAir takes on more ERJ145s, expect the airline’s planes to land in other United strongholds. The ERJ145s are excellent for connecting some smaller destinations to mainline hubs where filling up a larger aircraft would be difficult or uneconomical.

In addition, some high-frequency routes are flown by an ERJ145. On these routes, United has chosen to leverage its regional partner to run more frequencies and give passengers more flexibility with choosing their schedule.

The entire CommutAir fleet is made up of Embraer ERJ145 jets. These planes seat 50 passengers in an all-economy configuration. The planes are outfitted in a 1-2 configuration, meaning no middle seats.

What do you make of CommutAir’s expansion and growth? Where would you like to see these planes fly? Let us know in the comments!