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New regional jets and jobs coming to Dayton airport

Vandalia-based PSA Airlines Inc. plans to hire 900 additional employees as it expands operations with the purchase of new regional aircraft, the company announced Thursday.

The employees will be based throughout PSA’s locations in Dayton, Charlotte, N.C., Knoxville, Tenn., and Akron. PSA currently employs about 460 workers locally.

The exact breakdown of how many employees will work at each location is still being determined and will be driven by passenger demand, airline spokesman Andrew Christie said Thursday.

Although the number of new jobs locally is uncertain, PSA’s passenger load is rising here. Year to date through October, PSA had flown 184,854 passengers, a rise of 5 percent from 2012.

American Airlines Inc., which has merged with US Airways, said Thursday that its PSA subsidiary will add at least 30 new 76-seat jets, part of a purchase of 90 jets from Bombardier Inc. and Embraer S.A. American Airlines this week closed its merger with US Airways to become the world’s largest airline.

“It’s very positive for Dayton,” Airport Director Terry Slaybaugh said. “It’s exciting. It’s very positive they made this announcement so soon after the merger. We will work with the company to get as much of that as we can in Dayton.”

The new jets won’t be delivered until the second quarter of 2014 and training for the new employees will occur between now and then, Christie said. The employees will go on the job with the delivery of the jets. In the meantime, the company is hiring pilots, flight attendants and maintenance personnel now.

The airline plans to hire 400 pilots, 400 flight attendants and 100 maintenance personnel and others to handle the growth. PSA’s employment will go from 1,100 to upwards of 2,000, Christie said.

“It’s been an exciting week for American Airlines,” Kenji Hashimoto, senior vice president – Regional Carriers, said. “Now that we’ve closed our merger with US Airways, we can deliver a top-tier regional product that offers a First Class cabin, Main Cabin Extra and in-flight Wi-Fi – important elements of an improved flying experience for our customers.”

The new Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen aircraft offer 12 first class, 32 main cabin extra and 32 main cabin seats, the airline said. The jets replace smaller, less efficient 50-seat regional aircraft scheduled for retirement. The new aircraft burn 5 percent less fuel, Bombardier said and are powered by General Electric CF34-8 engines.

PSA, based at Dayton International Airport since 1995, is at 3400 Terminal Drive. The location employs 462 including 157 pilots, 116 office staffers, 94 flight attendants, 72 mechanics and related employees, 12 dispatchers and 11 store clerks.

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