Why A United Regional Jet Flew To China With Five Stops

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It’s not unusual for turboprops or regional jets to make long trips across oceans with many stops. However, typically that happens when an airline is taking delivery of a plane, and the plane needs to get from the factory to where it’s going to be based.

However, at the moment a United Express Embraer 175 operated by Mesa Airlines is making a different kind of trip, which sees it flying to Russia and China. What’s the reason for this strange trip? Bloomberg notes that aircraft manufacturer Embraer is leasing the plane from Mesa, so it can show off the plane to an unnamed, prospective buyer in China.

The airline agreed to a short term lease for the plane, and expects it to be back in service by the end of the week. Since Mesa has 53 of these planes in their fleet, they can lease it without any operational impact, since presumably they usually have at least a couple of planes in maintenance.