SkyWest, Inc. has reached agreement with Delta Air Lines on a deal which provides SkyWest with 34 more dual-class regional jets and calls for early termination of its Delta Connection operating contracts for 66 single-class Bombardier CRJ200s.
The 34 additional aircraft consist of five 65-seat Bombardier CRJ700s and 29 76-seat Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets.
SkyWest expects to take delivery of the 34 aircraft between this month and June 2013.
Both of SkyWest, Inc.’s operating subsidiaries – St. George, Utah-based SkyWest Airlines and Atlanta-based ExpressJet Airlines – have Delta Connection operations and both operate substantial numbers of Bombardier CRJ-family jets, so either or both could end up operating the aircraft which SkyWest is getting from Delta.
It appears likely some of the 34 aircraft may come from the fleet of Delta subsidiary Comair, which Delta is closing down on September 29. Among the aircraft in Comair’s fleet are 15 Bombardier CRJ700ER jets and 13 CRJ900ERs.
(The other 16 CRJ900s are likely to come from a 16-aircraft group which Delta Connection franchisee Pinnacle Airlines is due to hand back to Delta Air Lines, which had financed them for the Memphis-based carrier but agreed to take them back after negotiating alterations to Pinnacle Airlines’ operating agreement.)
Subject to the completion of negotiations between SkyWest and Delta, SkyWest also expects these changes to be incorporated into its existing Delta agreements, along with a December 2022 termination date for these operating rights.
Utah-based SkyWest intends to remove the 66 Bombardier CRJ200 50-seat regional jets from Delta Connection service between this month and December 2015.
Of these 66 regional jets, 41 are Delta-financed aircraft which are scheduled to be returned to Delta Air Lines without obligation to SkyWest.
SkyWest owns or has financed the remaining 25 and the company says it is “working on opportunities to mitigate the financial risk associated with removing those aircraft from Delta service”.
This is likely to mean SkyWest is looking for other opportunities to place the 25 CRJ200s in revenue service under a franchise with another major-airline client.