Category Archives: ExpressJet Airlines

United is looking closely at ExpressJet Airlines

United Express-ExpressJet Airlines Embraer ERJ 145LR (EMB-145LR)  N36915 (msn 145421) LGA (Ken Petersen). Image: 924301.

According to Reuters, United Continental Holdings, Inc. (United Airlines) is considering acquiring an ownership stake in ExpressJet Airlines in order to improve its supply of pilots. Negotiations are reportedly continuing with owner SkyWest. United does not own a regional carrier outright, unlike its competitors.

ExpressJet operates as an United Express carrier. However it also operates for American and is winding down its relationship with Delta.

Previously on August 9, 2017, ExpressJet Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SkyWest, Inc., announced the initiation of its defined long-term strategy:

  • Long-term agreement secured with United Airlines. As part of this plan, ExpressJet has secured a new, five-year extension of its United Airlines ERJ 145 contract, effective January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2022. The agreement enhances ExpressJet’s United partnership and provides long-term stability to its model. It also provides ExpressJet pilots with continued access to United’s Career Pathway Program. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
  • Early termination of Delta CPA. Additionally, ExpressJet and Delta Air Lines mutually agreed to initiate the wind-down of its remaining dual-class flying agreement under the Delta Connection brand, allowing ExpressJet opportunities to place aircraft with other partners. The agreement, which includes 28 CRJ900s and 33 CRJ700s, was previously scheduled to expire beginning in 2019. The aircraft financed by Delta, including all CRJ900s, will be returned to Delta beginning in fourth quarter 2017; ExpressJet expects to transition other aircraft previously operated under its Delta agreement to other major partners throughout 2018.
  • Agreement with American for eight additional CRJ700s. As part of this realignment, ExpressJet has secured an agreement with American Airlines to transition eight additional CRJ700s to its American Eagle operation. That transition is expected to take place during second quarter 2018.

Copyright Photo: United Express-ExpressJet Airlines Embraer ERJ 145LR (EMB-145LR) N36915 (msn 145421) LGA (Ken Petersen). Image: 924301.

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ExpressJet Airlines is phasing out its last Bombardier CRJ200s

Type Retired: November 25, 2017

ExpressJet Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SkyWest, Inc., this month is operating its last Canadair (Bombardier) CRJ200 revenue flights.

As previously reported on December 23, 2016, ExpressJet expected to transition to flying primarily dual-class aircraft in its CRJ operation by removing its Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft from service over the next year.

The company has been gradually retiring the CRJ200 fleet. Some aircraft have been transferred to partner SkyWest Airlines and all others are now in storage. Some aircraft were relocated to Oklahoma City, OK.

The retirement of the ExpressJet CRJ200 fleet was stepped up this month. N854AS is operating today but it is expected to join the others soon in retirement, probably after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Copyright Photo: Delta Connection-ExpressJet Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 (CL-600-2B19) N923EV (msn 7826) ATL (Jay Selman). Image: 403333.

ExpressJet expands its relationship with United and American, drops Delta

Delta Connection-ExpressJet Airlines Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) N307PQ (msn 15307) ATL (Jay Selman). Image: 403371.

ExpressJet Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SkyWest, Inc. has announced the initiation of a clearly defined long-term strategy:

  •  Long-term agreement secured with United Airlines. As part of this plan, ExpressJet has secured a new, five-year extension of its United Airlines ERJ 145 contract, effective January 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2022. The new agreement enhances ExpressJet’s United partnership and provides long-term stability to its model. It also provides ExpressJet pilots with continued access to United’s Career Pathway Program. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
  •  Early termination of Delta CPA. Additionally, ExpressJet and Delta Air Lines mutually agreed to initiate the wind-down of its remaining dual-class flying agreement under the Delta Connection brand, allowing ExpressJet opportunities to place aircraft with other partners. The agreement, which includes 28 CRJ900s and 33 CRJ700s, was previously scheduled to expire beginning in 2019. The aircraft financed by Delta, including all CRJ900s, will be returned to Delta beginning in fourth quarter 2017; ExpressJet expects to transition other aircraft previously operated under its Delta agreement to other major partners throughout 2018.
  •  Agreement with American for eight additional CRJ700s. As part of this realignment, ExpressJet has secured an agreement with American Airlines to transition eight additional CRJ700s to its American Eagle operation. That transition is expected to take place during second quarter 2018.

Copyright Photo: Delta Connection-ExpressJet Airlines Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) N307PQ (msn 15307) ATL (Jay Selman). Image: 403371.

SkyWest’s ExpressJet to retire its CRJ200 fleet over the next year

ExpressJet to retire its CRJ200 fleet in late 2017

SkyWest, Inc. has announced additional fleet transitions and contract updates designed to reduce SkyWest’s long-term fleet risk and enhance its ability to respond to changing partner needs.

Specifically, SkyWest’s ExpressJet operation expects to transition to flying primarily dual-class aircraft in its CRJ operation by removing its Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft from service over the next year.

The removal of the CRJ200 aircraft reduces ExpressJet’s future required investment in its 50-seat fleet and is expected to improve the airline’s operating efficiency by eliminating an aircraft type from its platform.

SkyWest also announced ExpressJet and American Airlines have agreed to place 12 dual-class CRJ700s into service under a multi-year term. These CRJ700s had been scheduled to be removed from service under a previously-disclosed early lease return arrangement.

Additionally, SkyWest and Bombardier entered into a termination agreement covering Bombardier’s residual value guarantee (“RVG”) agreements on 76 CRJ200 aircraft owned by SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet. Bombardier agreed to pay SkyWest $90 million by January 2017 along with certain other consideration in exchange for the release. Both the required sale of each aircraft and the cost to SkyWest of returning the aircraft to mid-time condition were points of risk and uncertainty for SkyWest that this termination agreement eliminates.

As a result of the expectation to remove ExpressJet CRJ200s from service and the Bombardier RVG termination agreement, SkyWest is evaluating its total 50-seat CRJ200 fleet and related long-lived assets for impairment in Q4 2016. SkyWest currently anticipates it will record a non-cash impairment charge in Q4 2016 estimated to be in the range of $440 million to $490 million (pre-tax) on its CRJ200 aircraft and other 50-seat aircraft assets, net of the $90 million in cash proceeds from the Bombardier termination agreement.

Copyright Photo: Delta Connection-ExpressJet Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 (CL-600-2B19) N923EV (msn 7826) ATL (Jay Selman). Image: 403333.

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JetBlue Airways becomes a pathway for ExpressJet Airlines pilots

ExpressJet Airlines (Atlanta) has announced a new partnership with JetBlue Airways (New York) through the JetBlue University Gateway Program to offer qualified students and current pilots a clear pathway to a career at JetBlue.

ExpressJet 2011 logo

The partnership expands on an earlier agreement with JetBlue to create three distinct pathways from an Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) partner school to ExpressJet to JetBlue:

JetBlue Blueberries logo

ExpressJet to JetBlue: Graduate AABI partner school and serve as a flight instructor for one year to meet Airline Transport Pilot (“ATP”)/Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (“R-ATP”) minimums >> Serve as a first officer at ExpressJet for at least 3,000 hours and 36 months for at least 4,000 hours total flight time >> Interview and begin training at JetBlue.

Cape Air logo

ExpressJet to Cape Air to JetBlue: Graduate AABI partner school and serve as a flight instructor for one year to meet ATP/R-ATP minimums >> Serve as a first officer at ExpressJet for at least 1,800 hours and 24 months >> Serve as a captain at Cape Air for at least 1,000 hours and 12 months for at least 3,800 hours total flight time >> Interview and begin training at JetBlue

Cape Air to ExpressJet to JetBlue: Graduate AABI partner school and serve as a flight instructor for one year >> Serve as a captain at Cape Air for at least 1,000 hours and 18 months >> Serve as a first officer at ExpressJet for at least 1,800 hours and 18 months for at least 3,800 hours total flight time >> Interview and begin training at JetBlue

In addition, this new partnership will offer current ExpressJet pilots who meet all program requirements an additional option for career advancement.

The new ExpressJet pathways join the long-standing partnership between Cape Air and JetBlue. The Cape Air to JetBlue pathway requires graduation from an AABI partner school, flight instructor experience and at least 2,500 hours and 24 months at Cape Air for at least 3,200 total flight hours, plus a jet transition course before an interview at JetBlue.

Pilots in the Gateway program must meet a defined set of criteria, including regular performance reviews, and successfully complete new hire interviews at each airline in the path they choose. In addition, for the University Gateway Program, pilots must attend Auburn University, Bridgewater State University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona and Prescott campuses), Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, Jacksonville University and the University of North Dakota. For the Advanced Gateway, pilots who graduated with an accredited major and flight training from any AABI school are eligible. For more information, visit http://www.futurebluepilots.com.

ExpressJet Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of SkyWest, Inc., and operates an average of more than 1,800 daily flights and an all-jet fleet of Embraer and Bombardier aircraft. Through capacity purchase agreements, ExpressJet operates as American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express to serve 190 airports in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 145XR (EMB-145XR) N11109 (msn 145657) operating for United lands at Raleigh-Durham.

United Express-ExpressJet aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG A new gallery added

SkyWest reports a second quarter net profit of $31.5 million

SkyWest, Inc. (SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines) (St. George, Utah) reported its financial and operating results for the quarter ended on June 30, 2015:

SkyWest (red-blue) logo (LRW)

SkyWest generated $31.5 million of net income for Q2 2015, or $0.61 per diluted share. This represents an improvement of $46.2 million from Q2 2014, which had a net loss of $(14.7) million, or $(0.29) per diluted share. Operating income for Q2 2015 was $70 million, which represents SkyWest’s best quarterly operating income since 2008.

ExpressJet 2011 logo

SkyWest reported $41 million of net income for the first half of 2015, or $0.79 per diluted share, a $79 million improvement compared to the first half of 2014 which had a net loss of $(38) million, or $(0.73) per diluted share.

Q2 2015 Financial Highlights

  • Pre-tax income increased $58 million in Q2 2015 from Q2 2014, primarily due to improved operating performance, additional flying contracts with improved profitability and a reduction in the number of aircraft operating under unprofitable flying contracts.
  • SkyWest generated $135 million in EBITDA in Q2 2015, compared to $77 million in Q2 2014. For the first half of 2015 EBITDA was $234 million, compared to $112 million for the first half of 2014.
  • Revenue included improvements of $32 million from the additional E175 operations, improved contract rates from renewals of SkyWest’s existing flying contracts and improved contract performance incentives compared to Q2 2014. Revenue also improved from Q2 2014 by $11 million from higher flight completion rates. These improvements provided a significant offset to the revenue decrease from a reduced fleet size and less scheduled production for a net decrease in revenue of $28 million year over year.
  • Operating expenses were down by $85 million compared to Q2 2014, primarily driven by operating efficiencies from improved completion rates, a net decrease in production, maintenance cost initiatives and a reduction in fuel costs.

Q2 2015 Operational Update

  • Excluding weather cancellations, the adjusted flight completion rate for ExpressJet Airlines, Inc. (“ExpressJet”) improved to 99.8% in Q2 2015 from 99.0% in Q2 2014. The adjusted flight completion rate for SkyWest Airlines, Inc. (“SkyWest Airlines”) also improved to 99.2% in Q2 2015 from 99.0% in Q2 2014.
  • Including weather cancellations, ExpressJet’s raw flight completion rate was 97.5% in Q2 2015 compared to 95.3% in Q2 2014. SkyWest Airlines’ raw flight completion rate improved to 98.4% in Q2 2015 compared to 97.4% in Q2 2014.
  • Total aircraft in service went to 676 at June 30, 2015, from 693 at March 31, 2015, summarized as follows:

1. Added six new E175 aircraft with United Air Lines, Inc. (“United”)

2. Added three new E175 aircraft with Alaska Air Group (“Alaska Airlines”)

3. Added ten used ERJ 145 aircraft with American Airlines, Inc. (“American”)

4. Removed 24 ERJ 145/ERJ 135 aircraft from service

5. Removed twelve EMB-120 turboprop aircraft from service

  • Under its fleet transition, SkyWest generated approximately 24,000 additional block hours with its dual class aircraft (CRJ700s/900s and E175s) compared to Q2 2014. SkyWest also had a reduction of approximately 72,000 block hours with its 50-seat and smaller sized aircraft (CRJ200s, ERJ145s/135s and EMB120s) compared to Q2 2014. The total aircraft in service decreased to 676 at June 30, 2015 from 752 at June 30, 2014.
  • Under an agreement announced in Q2 2015, SkyWest Airlines will place 8 additional E175 aircraft into service with Alaska Airlines, for a total of 15 E175s with Alaska Airlines. SkyWest Airlines is scheduled to take delivery of the remaining twelve new E175 aircraft for Alaska Airlines between Q4 2015 and Q4 2016.
  • Under a previously announced agreement, SkyWest Airlines is scheduled to take delivery of five new E175 aircraft for United during Q3 2015.

    Commenting on the results, Chip Childs, SkyWest, Inc. President, said,

    “Our second quarter results reflect meaningful progress in our action plans to secure profitable flying contracts, remove unprofitable aircraft and provide solid operating performance. These actions are the primary drivers for the strong earnings momentum we are generating. We remain committed to disciplined deployment of capital and resources as we continue the process of optimizing our fleet size and mix.”

Q2 2015 Capital and Liquidity Update

  • SkyWest had $505 million in cash and marketable securities at June 30, 2015, an increase of $24 million from March 2015. SkyWest made capital investments of $40 million during the quarter to acquire nine E175 aircraft including spare parts and engines.
  • SkyWest repurchased 1.25 million shares of its common stock for $18.7 million in cash during Q2 2015
  • The company issued $229 million in new long term debt to finance spare engines and the nine new E175s delivered during the quarter.
  • SkyWest anticipates using approximately $30 million in cash as investments in E175 aircraft scheduled for delivery in Q3 and Q4 of 2015.

SkyWest’s two airline companies provide commercial air service in cities across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean with more than 3,500 scheduled daily flights. SkyWest Airlines operates through partnerships with United, Delta, US Airways, American and Alaska Airlines. ExpressJet operates through partnerships with United, Delta and American.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. SkyWest is rapidly reducing the amount of 50-seat regional jets as the report states above. Its largest Bombardier CRJ200 customer is United Airlines but that too will continue to be reduced. Bombardier CRJ200 (CL-600-2B19) N956SW (msn 7871) in United Express colors departs from Los Angeles International Airport.

United Express-SkyWest aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

SkyWest Route Map: (click on the map for the full size view):

SkyWest 7.2015 Route Map

ExpressJet Route Map (click on the map for the full size view):

ExpressJet 7.2015 Route

SkyWest reports first quarter net income of $9.6 million, downsizes the fleet by 24 aircraft

SkyWest, Inc. (SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines) (St. George, Utah) reported net income of $9.6 million, reversing a previous net off of $22.9 million in the same quarter a year ago.

The company removed 15 Embraer EMB-120 Brasilias from service along with 29 50-seat aircraft previously operated for United Express. The represents a net reduction in the combined fleet of 24 aircraft. SkyWest will further reduced the fleet by another 60 aircraft by the end of this year. The company is eliminating unprofitable aircraft and contract routes.

Here is the full financial report:

SkyWest, Inc. reported financial and operating results for the quarter ended March 31, 2015.

SkyWest generated $9.6 million of net income, or $0.18 per diluted share, for Q1 2015. This represents an after-tax improvement of $32.5 million from Q1 2014, which had a net loss of $(22.9) million, or $(0.44) per diluted share.

Q1 2015 Financial Highlights

  •   Pre-tax income increased $59 million from Q1 2014 primarily due to improved operating performance, additional flying contracts and improved recovery from weather disruptions.
  •   SkyWest generated $100 million in EBITDA in Q1 2015, compared to $35 million in Q1 2014.
  •   Revenue included improvements of $21 million from higher flight completion rates and $33 million from the additional E175 operations, improved contract rates from renewals and extensions and improved contract performance incentives. These improvements provided a significant offset to the anticipated revenue decrease from a reduced fleet size and production.
  •   Operating expenses were down by $74 million compared to Q1 2014, primarily driven by improved operating efficiencies and a net decrease in production.

Q1 2015 Operational Update

  •   ExpressJet’s adjusted completion rate significantly improved to 99.6% in Q1 2015 from 98.0% in Q1 2014. SkyWest Airlines adjusted completion rate also improved to 99.3% in Q1 2015 from 99.0% in Q1 2014.
  •   ExpressJet reduced its number of total cancelled flights, including weather cancellations, to 7,300 flights, or 4.5% of scheduled flights, in Q1 2015, from approximately 20,400, or 10.6% of scheduled flights, in Q1 2014. Additionally, SkyWest Airlines reduced its number of total cancelled flights, including weather cancellations, to 3,500 flights, or 2.3% of scheduled flights, in Q1 2015, from 6,400 flights, or 4.1% of scheduled flights, in Q1 2014.

April 30, 2015

  •   SkyWest was named one of “America’s Best Employers 2015” by Forbes ®. SkyWest is the only regional airline company included on the 2015 list.
  •   The reduction in ExpressJet’s ERJ145 operations was the primary driver in SkyWest’s 6.4% reduction in departures and a 5.5% reduction in block hours compared to Q1 2014.
  •   Total aircraft in service went to 693 at March 31, 2015 from 717 December 31, 2014, summarized as follows:

o Added nine new E175 aircraft with United

o Added five used 50-seat aircraft with Delta and six used 50-seat aircraft with American

o Removed 15 EMB120 aircraft from service

o Removed 29 50-seat aircraft from service previously operated with United

 Under a previously announced agreement with Alaska Airlines, SkyWest Airlines is scheduled to take delivery of seven new E175 aircraft between Q2 2015 and the Q1 2016.

Commenting on the results, Chip Childs, SkyWest, Inc. President said, “Our first quarter results reflect strong progress on our long-term objectives to improve operating performance and reduce the number of aircraft operating in unprofitable flying contracts. During the quarter we continued execution of our fleet transition plan and we expect this transition to continue through 2016. First quarter’s positive results demonstrate solid execution of these long-term strategic objectives to improve profitability.”

Q1 2015 Capital and liquidity update

  •   SkyWest had $480 million in cash and marketable securities at March 31, 2015. Cash and marketable securities decreased $79 million during Q1 2015, primarily due to $46 million in scheduled semi-annual aircraft lease pre-payments and SkyWest’s investment of $36 million to acquire E175 aircraft and $10 million to acquire E175 spare parts and engines.
  •   Long-term debt increased $164 million from December 31, 2014 to March 31, 2015. The increase was primarily due to the issuance of $203 million of long-term debt for nine E175 aircraft delivered during Q1 2015, partially offset by principal payments made on total outstanding debt.

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. SkyWest removed 15 Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilias from service during the quarter. Embaer EMB-120ER Brasilia N560SW (msn 120334) prepares to taxi from the gate at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

SkyWest Airlines aircraft slide show (in-house liveries): AG Airline Slide Show

AG Up-close action photography