Skywest Airlines announced the replacement of its turboprop Brasilia 120 Embraer fleet with an all-jet CRJ fleet. According to Emily Jacobs, program coordinator for Humboldt County Aviation Division, Humboldt’s main airport will have fewer flights but bigger jets. Jacobs says the number of available seats will remain unchanged for now.
Several other airports may lose service from United (Skywest’s parent company), including Crescent City, Carslbad, Burbank, and Santa Barbara as a result of this transition.
“We have an opportunity to capture some of these changes in the market. If we’re proactive and we fill up the airplanes, the airlines will respond with more flights.”
Jacobs said that by May, Skywest will no longer fly turboprops and that ACV could start seeing the new CRJ jets by January. She’s optimisitc about the changes, likening the flurry of smaller planes to single-passenger vehicles. Fewer, larger planes leads to fewer choke points, which Jacobs said will hopefully lead to less congestion.
“When you have bigger airplanes, it’s so much easier to get rebooked. They’re not going to cancel a 70-seat flight as easily as they would a 30-seat flight. With faster, quieter, more comfortable jets, we can economize the time slots, improve reliability, and increase comfort all at once.”
She added that tall passengers will notice a serious change in the new planes: “You can stand all the way up in them. Even tall people.”
According to a press release from Skywest:
SkyWest, Inc. Announces Fleet and Contract UpdatesSkyWest Airlines to Transition to All-Jet FleetSt.
George, Utah, Nov. 17 – SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ: SKYW) today announced fleet transitions and contract updates designed to improve SkyWest’s overall efficiency and long-term profitability. Specifically, SkyWest announced that SkyWest Airlines, Inc., its wholly-owned subsidiary (“SkyWest Airlines”), intends to transition to an all-jet fleet by removing all remaining 30-seat Embraer 120 Brasilia turboprop aircraft (the “EMB 120s”) from service by summer 2015.
The EMB 120 fleet retirement comes, in part, in response to increased costs and additional challenges associated with new FAR117 flight and duty rules, implemented in January 2014.
Separately, SkyWest announced that ExpressJet Airlines, Inc., its wholly-owned subsidiary (“ExpressJet Airlines”), has executed an agreement with United Airlines, Inc. (“United”) to reduce the term of the existing 50-seat ERJ145 contract between ExpressJet and United from November 2020 to December 2017, subject to certain extension rights by United.
ExpressJetAirlines anticipates the reduction in the ERJ145 operations will improve its overall operational reliability and financial results. As a result of the decision to remove the EMB 120 aircraft from service by June 2015 and as a result of the reduced term to operate the ERJ145 aircraft, SkyWest, Inc. anticipates recording pre-tax special charges (primarily non-cash) ranging from $55-70 million in Q4 2014.