United Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SkyWest Airlines to operate select portions of the company’s United Express service. The MOU, announced June 10, signals an 11-year relationship that includes a new rate structure and allows for more airplanes to be added to the United Express fleet. It also calls for SkyWest to operate a total of 140 aircraft.
The fleet will include 55 turboprops currently serving the United Express fleet, 55 fifty-seat regional jets to be in service by the end of this year, and 30 seventy-seat regional jets serving United Express routes by the summer of 2005. It also carries an option to operate a “significant number” of additional regional jets. Terms of the MOU are retroactive to January 1 this year. A final contract is subject to approval by the board of directors and senior officers of both companies and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.