St. George, Utah-based SkyWest has signed a capacity purchase agreement (CPA) with bankrupt American Airlines to fly 23 Bombardier CRJ200s under the American Eagle designation, drawing indignation from AA’s current regional airline pilots. SkyWest expects to start its American flights on November 15 and place all 23 airplanes into service before the end of next year’s first quarter.
SkyWest plans to use 50-seat CRJs it formerly operated as Delta Connection. Its SkyWest Airlines subsidiary would fly 12 of them and its ExpressJet unit would fly the remaining 11. The four-year deal calls for the SkyWest subsidiaries to operate the airplanes mainly out of Los Angeles International and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airports.
In a September 12 “Newsblast,” the Air Line Pilots Association’s American Eagle unit notified its members that American planned to close its wholly owned regional subsidiary’s LAX domicile by November 15, move ten 44-seat Embraer ERJ-140s based there to Dallas and Miami and another possibly to New York. It also said the 11 regional jets flown by ExpressJet would replace Eagle’s previous ATR flying at DFW.
“This is a bad day for all of us,” wrote American Eagle master executive council chairman Tony Gutierrez. “It marks the beginning of a new chapter for our airline. We are feeling the same anger that you feel today. But the following must be said: although our parent company has betrayed us, we cannot betray each other with our actions.”