"Scope Clauses" are collectively bargained contractual terms in pilot union agreements with US major carriers that place restrictions on how many and what size of aircraft regional airlines may operate. Typically, these restrict regionals to aircraft under 86,000 pounds and no more than 76 seats. Their goal is to protect union jobs at the major airline from being eliminated by regional airlines operating larger aircraft.
Here is a summary of the current scope clauses with the three major legacy carriers in the United States. It is notable that the details are quite precise. These have been the subject of difficult negotiations, and while they have changed and grown somewhat over time, as aircraft have changed, any changes must be negotiated at the expiration of a contract, which typically run for multiple years.
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