Couldn't UA just bring in 70-seaters and 100-seaters as mainline as part of the current scope?
UAlpa has proposed flying 100 seaters to aallow for larger UAX airplanes (which the company rejected) They know once the UALPA pilots fly the larger regional airplanes? They'll propose bringing in ALL the regional airplanes (and Pilots) on board. The company might be gullible, But they're NOT stupid. They can see a takeover plan in mind. Hell! I can see a takeover plan in the Plot and Scheme!
UA ALPA hasn’t proposed flying 100 seaters in the current negotiations because it is already in the contract. Management has agreed that anything over 76 seats are mainline, and any increase in the number of 76 seaters at Express is tied to ordering the New Small Narrow Body (NSNB). A clause management has yet to utilize. Should they do so fully, the amount of 70/76 seaters allowed would be equal to the amount Delta currently has.
What UA ALPA has proposed in these negotiations is to bring the 76 seaters on as a mainline aircraft as well. With it being mainline, there are no limits in the weight, seat count, number of aircraft, mileage , and ratio of block hours etc. The 175E2 would be in compliance despite it being grossly over the current weight limit, and probably would have 80-82 passengers versus 76.
As far as additional costs, UAL already owns a significant amount of the 76 seaters, some of the hubs (if not all) are already staffed with above and below wing by mainline employees, so bringing them to mainline means Pilots, Mechanics, and Flight Attendants, as well as additional dispatchers, routers etc to handle the increase in flying. But you aren’t having to pay a third party, at a profit for those contractors, to do provide those services either.
So yes an increase in costs, but also an increase in revenue, and operational flexibility.
I believe it’s not really an economic decision by management to not order a NSNB, or bring the 76 seaters onto mainline, but rather a philosophical one. They are so engrained to Express and outsourcing. It would require a fundamental shift in their thinking to do such a thing. A giant step they just can’t take, even though Delta has already shown them the way with the 100 seaters.