Salt Lake City - SkyWest Airlines is interested in the Bombardier's recently launched aircraft program CRJ550, the chief executive Chip Childs said during the presentation of the airline's quarterly figures.
SkyWest Airlines currently operates the world's largest CRJ700 fleet with 103 aircraft of the same type in its fleet. The CRJ550 is based on the Bombardier's 70-seat -700 variant.
"I think that the CRJ550 is a very compelling case that we worked particularly with one of our partners. We watch it very closely. I think it’s an intriguing product... At this point, we’re studying it, watching it very closely, we think it’s a very good compelling case," Childs said.
United Airlines, for which the SkyWest also operates, is the launch customer of the CRJ550. The first 25 jets are expected to join the United's fleet by the end of 2019. United's CRJ550s will be operated by GoJet Airlines.
Childs emphasized that SkyWest did not take any decisions yet concerning a potential CRJ550 order or conversion of existing orders for the type.
"At this time, we also have some other opportunities with CRJ-700s that are equally, if not more compelling, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t think that that could put - we could play a good part in that some time down the road," the chief executive said.
According to the Canadian aircraft manufacturer, CRJ550 is the only regional jet with 50 seats offering a tri-class cabin configuration in the market.
One of the key benefits of the U.S. airline operators is the cockpit commonality with the CRJ200 to the CRJ900 jets.
During the presentation of quarterly results, Childs also indicated that the SkyWest signed an agreement with an undisclosed regional airline for the lease of 29 CRJ700 on a ten-year contract.
On the other hand, the company has announced that it extended its contract for the operation of 38 CRJ700 on behalf of American Airlines.
The regional specialist is currently replacing nine CRJ900 in the fleet with Embraer E175s, which are being operated on behalf of Delta Air Lines. Four of the planes will be returned to the owners and five will be leased to Air Canada.