Airlines are often hesitant to switch fleets from one supplier to another, since additional training and maintenance costs can outweigh savings on the purchase.
Delta and US Airways and their regional flying partners operate more Bombardier CRJs. American and United and their partners use more Embraer jets.
Philippe Poutissou, vice-president of commercial aircraft at Bombardier, cautions against looking at blanket figures and says a better measure of who’s on top is to consider where the demand is.
“If you look at the U.S. market overall at the 70- to 90-seat category, which is where the opportunity lies, the CRJ has outsold the E-Jet two to one, if you are specifically looking at the CRJ700 and CRJ900,” he said in a recent interview.
But for Richard Aboulafia, a senior analyst with the Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group, Bombardier has a narrow window for selling more ambitiously before the re-engined E-Jet and Mitsubishi’s new jet take off.
“They need to work hard to keep the Delta order from being a dead-cat bounce,” Aboulafia said.