SkyWest Airlines Orders More Embraer Jets for Expanded Delta Pact
SkyWest Airlines has ordered seven Embraer 175 regional jets as part of an expanded partnership with Delta Air Lines.
The Utah-based regional carrier will begin taking delivery of the aircraft in the fourth quarter, Embraer said in a statement on Wednesday. The aircraft will be outfitted with 70 seats, including 12 in first class, 20 in Comfort+ and 38 in economy, due to limits on seating aboard small jets in Delta's contract with its pilots.
The news comes a day after Delta named SkyWest as one of its three regional providers going forward. The mainline carrier will end its partnerships with Compass Airlines and GoJet Airlines by mid-2020 and transfer their flying to SkyWest, as well as Endeavor Air and Republic Airline.
"This announcement is positive for SkyWest in a number of ways, and will allow for further westward movement in our Delta network," said Chip Childs, CEO of SkyWest, in a letter to employees viewed by TPG on Aug. 6. "Some of those changes will start taking place as early as this fall, with us ultimately expecting to become the primary, if not exclusive, Delta Connection carrier in SLC, LAX and SEA."
SkyWest's E175 order is part of a larger deal to add 13 of the type to its fleet with Delta. The six used aircraft are owned by the mainline carrier and will be transferred from Compass beginning in early 2020, Cowen analyst Helane Becker said in a report Wednesday. However, Delta has also cancelled plans to add six Bombardier CRJ900s at SkyWest.
The seven new E175s will likely replace an equal number of Bombardier CRJ700s as yet unspoken for in the GoJet fleet. Endeavor said Tuesday that it will take 13 of the 20 CRJ700s at GoJet.
The E175 is generally preferred by passengers over the CRJ700. The 70-seat layout has more first class seats -- 12 versus up to nine -- and a larger cabin than the Bombardier jet.
In addition, Delta can reconfigure the E175 with up to 76 seats if the limits in its pilots' contract change.