SkyWest, Inc. has completed its acquisition of ExpressJet Holdings, Inc., the parent company of regional carrier ExpressJet Airlines.
As a result of a merger transaction, ExpressJet Holdings has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Inc., which in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of SkyWest.
“Our acquisition of ExpressJet represents a significant step in the implementation of our strategic plan,” says Bradford Rich, SkyWest’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “We are pleased to welcome ExpressJet’s employees into the SkyWest organization and look forward to capitalizing on the synergies we believe the acquisition presents.”
SkyWest has confirmed its intention to combine the operations of ExpressJet Airlines – which serves more than 130 scheduled destinations in North America and the Caribbean with approximately 1,200 departures per day – and Atlantic Southeast Airlines, subject to receipt of necessary regulatory approvals. SkyWest also plans to use Atlantic Southeast’s existing facilities in Atlanta, Georgia as the operating headquarters of the combined company.
The parent company expects both airlines to continue to operate under separate operating certificates until they can complete the regulatory process for combining the two carriers under a single operating certificate. In the meantime, Atlantic Southeast intends to transfer some ExpressJet support functions to Atlantic Southeast and SkyWest. SkyWest says it believes that ExpressJet employees and passengers will benefit from the merger because the deal will allow Atlantic Southeast to build greater efficiencies of scale and capitalize on growth opportunities.
“With the completion of the acquisition, Atlantic Southeast and ExpressJet personnel have commenced the process of integrating their respective operations to ensure a smooth transition designed to deliver immediate value for customers and shareholders,” says Rich. “We believe the combined operations of Atlantic Southeast and ExpressJet, together with the operations conducted by SkyWest Airlines, Inc., position us to offer an exceptional product to our passengers and major partners, provide growth opportunities for our employees and create additional value for our shareholders.”
SkyWest conducts its operations through wholly owned subsidiaries Atlantic Southeast Airlines (based in Atlanta) and SkyWest Airlines, which is based in St. George, Utah. Atlantic Southeast operates as a Delta Connection carrier under a contractual agreement with Delta Air Lines and as a United Express carrier under a contractual agreement with United Air Lines.
ExpressJet, which is now a subsidiary of Atlantic Southeast Airlines, operates as a Continental Express carrier under a contractual agreement with Continental Air Lines and as a United Express carrier under a contractual agreement with United. Continental and United themselves recently merged their ownership under the holding company United Continental Holdings, Inc. and when their operating certificates are combined the two big carriers will ultimately merge their operations under the United Airlines name.
SkyWest Airlines operates as a United Express carrier and a Delta Connection carrier under contractual agreements with United and Delta, respectively. SkyWest Airlines also has a marketing agreement with AirTran Airways, Inc., which has agreed a deal to be acquired by Southwest Airlines. Southwest’s plans for the relationship between AirTran Airways and SkyWest Airlines aren’t yet clear.
Systemwide, SkyWest – through ExpressJet Airlines, Atlantic Southeast Airlines and SkyWest Airlines – now operates approximately 700 regional aircraft, primarily regional jets, offering approximately 4,000 daily departures.
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