Hundreds of SkyWest Airlines ground employees in seven states will lose their jobs in the coming months as one of its major airline partners moves some of its business to another provider, a SkyWest spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.
United Airlines has notified the St. George-based regional carrier that a new provider will take over ground-handling service operations now provided by some 600 SkyWest employees at 16 airports, Marissa Snow said.
None of the baggage handlers, ticket agents and gate employees work in Utah, Snow said. No SkyWest pilots will be affected by the change.
Flying as United Express for United, SkyWest operates 1,052 daily flights for the Chicago-based carrier.
The layoffs probably will happen by the end of summer or early in the fall. SkyWest will try to find other jobs for the employees, either with the airline or with the new operator, Snow said.
The decision to hire a different provider came after a review of ground-handling services at airports served only by United Express, United spokesman Michael Trevino said.
In the end, United decided to switch ground operations providers at 44 airports, including 16 airports in California, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee and Washington, where SkyWest was the sole provider.
“The goal of the review was to ensure that we were delivering quality service that is cost-effective,” Trevino said.
He declined to say whether United was unhappy with SkyWest’s performance. Nor would he say how much money United expects to save.
“Skywest continues to be a ground-handling partner of ours [at other airports] and they continue to be a flying partner of ours,” Trevino said.