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Utah's SkyWest to fly for American Airlines

Published September 12, 2012 11:35 pm

Carriers • As Delta exits 50-seat jets, others pick up the slack.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

SkyWest Inc., the St. George-based parent company of SkyWest Airlines, has signed on a new client — one that it hopes will provide it with big growth opportunities in the future.

The company said Wednesday it had entered into an agreement with American Airlines to operate 23 Bombardier CRJ200 regional jet aircraft under the American Eagle designation.

"It's not a lot of aircraft, compared with our existing contracts with Delta and United, but it is a good opportunity for us," said Michael Kraupp, SkyWest's chief financial officer. "It allows us to use those aircraft to their best advantage, and we're hoping there will be other opportunities ahead with American."

SkyWest flies hundreds of planes every day for Delta Air Lines as Delta Connection and for United Airlines as United Express and Alaska Airlines.

It anticipates that it will begin its American flights Nov. 15, with all 23 aircraft being placed in service prior to the end of the first quarter in 2013. Each plane will hold 50 passengers.

Kraupp said SkyWest will use aircraft from its existing fleet, explaining those planes will be reassigned from the company's Delta Connection operations to American Eagle service.

Delta has gradually been eliminating 50-seat jets from its fleet, due in part of fuel-cost concerns.

In a teleconference in early August, Delta President Ed Bastian indicated the airline would be stepping up its exodus, with most 50-seaters operating under the Delta Connection banner expected to be history in a couple of years. "This contract with America will be of benefit to (both) Delta and ourselves," Kraupp said.

Under the new contract, SkyWest expects to be flying its planes for American primarily out of Los Angeles International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It anticipates that 12 of the aircraft will be flown by SkyWest Airlines and 11 by its ExpressJet Airlines subsidiary.

American isn't the only airline to sign on as a SkyWest client in the past year.

In November, US Airways inked a three-year deal that called for SkyWest to provide daily flights to five cities from U.S. Airways' hub in Phoenix. At that time, Kraupp said SkyWest was viewing that contract as "an entry point with US Airways and hope for it to grow in the future."

Today, with U.S. Airways and American sharing confidential data in what some are looking upon as a the prelude to a merger, SkyWest could find itself serving both parties in what could be a key combination in the airline industry. "If they were to merge — and I under stand that it is still a big 'if' — we could be in a good position because they both look upon SkyWest favorably," Kraupp said.

steve@sltrib.com

Twitter: @OberbeckBiz SkyWest Inc., the St. George-based parent company of SkyWest Airlines, has signed on a new client — one that it hopes will provide it with big growth opportunities in the future.

The company said Wednesday it had entered into an agreement with American Airlines to operate 23 Bombardier CRJ200 regional jet aircraft under the American Eagle designation.

"It's not a lot of aircraft, compared with our existing contracts with Delta and United, but it is a good opportunity for us," said Michael Kraupp, SkyWest's chief financial officer. "It allows us to use those aircraft to their best advantage, and we're hoping there will be other opportunities ahead with American."

SkyWest flies hundreds of planes every day for Delta Air Lines as Delta Connection and for United Airlines as United Express and Alaska Airlines.

It anticipates that it will begin its American flights Nov. 15, with all 23 aircraft being placed in service prior to the end of the first quarter in 2013. Each plane will hold 50 passengers.

Kraupp said SkyWest will use aircraft from its existing fleet, explaining those planes will be reassigned from the company's Delta Connection operations to American Eagle service.

Delta has gradually been eliminating 50-seat jets from its fleet, due in part of fuel-cost concerns.

In a teleconference in early August, Delta President Ed Bastian indicated the airline would be stepping up its exodus, with most 50-seaters operating under the Delta Connection banner expected to be history in a couple of years. "This contract with America will be of benefit to (both) Delta and ourselves," Kraupp said.

Under the new contract, SkyWest expects to be flying its planes for American primarily out of Los Angeles International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It anticipates that 12 of the aircraft will be flown by SkyWest Airlines and 11 by its ExpressJet Airlines subsidiary.

American isn't the only airline to sign on as a SkyWest client in the past year.

In November, US Airways inked a three-year deal that called for SkyWest to provide daily flights to five cities from U.S. Airways' hub in Phoenix. At that time, Kraupp said SkyWest was viewing that contract as "an entry point with US Airways and hope for it to grow in the future."

Today, with U.S. Airways and American sharing confidential data in what some are looking upon as a the prelude to a merger, SkyWest could find itself serving both parties in what could be a key combination in the airline industry. "If they were to merge — and I under stand that it is still a big 'if' — we could be in a good position because they both look upon SkyWest favorably," Kraupp said.

steve@sltrib.com

Twitter: @OberbeckBiz