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Larger jets are strutting the runway

I knew that United Express was incorporating regional jets into its flights to Medford, but I was surprised to see what looked like a Boeing 737 last week. Can you tell me what I was looking at on the runway?

— Fred C., Medford

It's shaped something like a Boeing 737, but what you and other curious people have noticed in recent weeks is a Brazilian-built Embrae 175, commonly referred to as an E175.

We found out from St. George, Utah-based SkyWest, which operates United Express flights in and out of the Rogue Valley, that 76-passenger E175s began flying between San Francisco International and Medford on June 4.

As to the whys and wherefores of the change, we were referred to Chicago-based United Airlines. Telephone messages and emails went unanswered, but United recently announced it is adding 10 E175s to the United Express fleet and convert 18 more E175s to firm orders in the near term.

Departing the sky in the process are 50-seat Canadian regional jets.

United flew 737s to Medford up until 2002 and SkyWest filled the air between here and San Francisco with smaller 30-passenger prop planes for a dozen years.

"It's the evolution back to larger aircraft," said Medford Airport Director Bern Case. "I'm sure our first-class passengers appreciate the change."

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.