Regional aircraft for US Scope clause operations

By Bjorn Fehrm

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May 4, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The US regional aircraft market changed shape last year. Most players expected that the negotiations between mainline pilots and the airlines would allow larger and heavier aircraft going forward.

But no, the present limits of 76 passengers and a Max Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 86,000lb remained. Next negotiation round will be 2019 (United Airlines) and 2020 (American and Delta Airlines). By now, most observers expect the present limits to stay beyond 2020.

Figure 1. United Express Embraer E175. Source: United Airlines.

The non-moving limits surprised manufacturers. They expected their new aircraft could fit under new rules, allowing heavier aircraft.

With the changed situation, we go through which aircraft fit the present rules and which does not. And what are the options, should the rules not change come 2020.


  • The present scope clause-compliant aircraft are the CRJ700 and CRJ900 from Bombardier and E175-E1 from Embraer.
  • These aircraft will be joined by the new MRJ70 from Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation at the turn of the decade. The MRJ90 will arrive as well, but is too heavy for Scope-restricted airlines.
  • We use our performance model to dive into how these aircraft operate under present and future Scope clause rules.

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