SkyWest Airlines’ latest order for sixteen Embraer E175s for Delta Airlines confirms its plans for growth, fleet renewal, and long-term codeshare agreements with most of the US’ leading carriers. The announcement on August 9 comes on the back of other recent fleet updates. E175 order confirms SkyWest’s growth strategy.
SkyWest said it will directly purchase and finance the sixteen E175s that have been placed with Delta on a multi-year capacity purchase agreement. The aircraft with a combined list price of $798.4 million will come fresh from the Embraer factory and enter service between the first half and end of 2022. They will have a 3-class cabin layout with 76 seats and complement the 71 E175s that SkyWest already flies for Delta, but replace sixteen Mitsubishi/ex-Bombardier CRJ900s between mid-2022 and early 2023. SkyWest currently has forty CRJ900s in service for Delta. It is expected to make a non-cash impairment charge on the aircraft that are to be replaced.
In May, SkyWest announced an order for eight E175s to be operated on behalf of Alaska Airlines on twelve-year contracts. When delivered in the first half of next year, they will complement the 32 E175s in service for Alaska.
Just before the pandemic hit, SkyWest placed an order for twenty E175s in January 2020 for American Airlines They will join the airline by the end of 2022, shortly before 21 used CRJ700s will enter service for American as well.
In its HY1-results stock exchange filings document, SkyWest says that between June 2020 and June 2021 it added four E175s to its fleet, eighteen used CRJ700s, one new CRJ900 while removing four CRJ900s and twelve CRJ200s. Leases on four CRJ200s to third parties were terminated, while the agreement with American means that SkyWest has now placed 34 CRJ700s with third parties.
By the end of June, SkyWest’s fleet totaled 608 aircraft, including 478 in service under code-share agreements with United (46.2 percent), Delta (30.3 percent), American (16.8 percent), and Alaska 6.7 percent). Between January and June, the fleet carried fifteen million passengers and did 600.227 of flying block hours, with 277.724 hours by the E175s. It had 193 E175s but the latest orders for 34 aircraft bring this to 237.