Republic Airways lands deal with United Airlines

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. has reached a deal to continue flying routes for United Airlines, in a step meant to help the Indianapolis-based carrier to emerge from bankruptcy, the company said.

Financial details of the deal, which must be approved by the US Bankruptcy Court, were not released and were redacted in court documents. But Republic said it had negotiated tangible and intangible short-term and long-term economic concessions.

The deal means that Republic will continue flying 54 Embraer 170 and 175 planes that it operates for United as well as future Embraer E-Jets flights. According to court records, Republic was flying 280 flights per day as United Express as of Jan. 31.

Republic–which has called Indianapolis home since the early 1990s and employs 1,600 people locally–entered bankruptcy in February after losing USD27.1 million in 2015 on revenue of USD1.3 billion. A national pilot shortage combined with Republic´s years-long dispute with its pilots over a new contract left the company unable to fulfill all of its obligations to larger airlines. Republic and the pilots reached a deal last fall.

The bankruptcy court has already approved a deal that allows Republic to keep flying commuter routes for Delta Air Lines Inc. Under that agreement, Republic will phase out the use of 50-seat aircraft in favor of larger 70-seat and 76-seat planes it also uses. Delta also entered into a credit agreement to give Republic USD75 million.