St. George, Utah-based SkyWest expects to ground 66 fifty-seat Bombardier CRJs and add 34 more dual-class Bombardier jets ranging in seating capacity from 65 to 76 seats under a memorandum of understanding signed with code-share partner Delta Air Lines, the world’s largest regional airline announced today.
The 34 additional aircraft consist of five Bombardier CRJ700s and 29 CRJ900s, all of which SkyWest expects to take possession by June of next year. The tentative contract calls for delivery of the first dual-class airplane and removal of the first CRJ200 this month, suggesting the parties expect to reach a firm deal imminently. The contract calls for removal of all of the 66 CRJ200s from Delta Connection service by December 2015. Of the 66 fifty-seaters, Delta financed 41, which SkyWest can return “without obligation.” SkyWest financed the remaining 25 and therefore carries responsibility for their placement, either in the network of another of its code-share partners or with a new operator. “SkyWest is currently working on opportunities to mitigate the financial risk associated with removing those aircraft from Delta service,” it said in a statement.
SkyWest said its existing Delta agreements, scheduled for termination in 2022, will incorporate all the changes.
Under a new union contract clause negotiated with its pilots, Delta must remove all but 125 of the 343 fifty-seat jets flying in the Delta Connection network. With its recent announcement of the closure of its Cincinnati-based Comair subsidiary, it has now publicly identified the source of 82 of the 50-seat jets it must ground.