Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) announced today it is expanding its partnership with SkyWest Airlines (St. George, Utah) with the addition of three new destinations from Alaska’s Northwest hubs. Flying on new Embraer ERJ 175 jets (a new type in Alaska colors), Alaska will begin offering daily nonstop service starting on July 1, 2015 between Seattle/Tacoma and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Seattle/Tacoma and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Portland, Oregon and St. Louis.
The 76-seat E175 jet will feature 12 seats in first class and 64 in coach, and boasts cabin dimensions on par with a Boeing 737. Onboard amenities include Wi-Fi Internet access, streaming inflight entertainment and 110 volt power in every first class seat. Food and beverage will include hot meals and picnic packs for purchase, in addition to Northwest microbrews and wine.
SkyWest has purchased seven Embraer E175 aircraft to fly on behalf of Alaska under a capacity purchase agreement (CPA). The first three aircraft will arrive in the summer of 2015, and the remaining four will be delivered in the first quarter of 2016.
SkyWest operates for Alaska Airlines as Alaska SkyWest.
“The E175 is new for the Alaska brand and fills a specific need to serve ‘long, thin routes’ – destinations that are too distant for our regional aircraft, but currently don’t have enough customer demand to fill a mainline jet,” said Andrew Harrison, senior vice president of planning and revenue management for Alaska Airlines. “The smaller, but spacious, E175 jet will not only open up new cities, but provide feed traffic to our Northwest hubs, while giving customers a comfortable experience on these longer flights.”
Today, SkyWest flies 40 flights a day between 14 cities for Alaska Airlines and by August 2016, that will increase to 52 flights a day to 17 cities.
Alaska Airlines has been growing its Seattle/Tacoma hub, this year launching service to six new cities which include Albuquerque, Baltimore/Washington, Cancun, Detroit, New Orleans and Tampa. With the addition of these new SkyWest-operated flights, next summer Alaska will offer 298 peak-day departures to 81 destinations from Seattle/Tacoma – three times any other carrier. From Portland, starting in July Alaska Airlines will offer 125 peak-day departures to 44 destinations – more than any other carrier.
In related news, SkyWest confirmed its order for seven Embraer 175s with this announcement:
SkyWest, Inc. and Embraer have confirmed a firm order for seven E175 jets. The aircraft will be flown by SkyWest Airlines under a Capacity Purchase Agreement (CPA) with Alaska Airlines. The value of the firm order, which will be included in Embraer’s 2014 fourth-quarter backlog, is estimated at $301 million, based on 2014 list prices.
These aircraft are part of SkyWest’s previous order for 100 (40 firm and 60 reconfirmable), E175 current generation E-Jets – with an additional 100 options – placed in May 2013, taking the firm order number to a total of 47. The E175s for Alaska Airlines will be configured with 76 seats including 12 First Class seats. Deliveries are schedule to begin in the second semester of 2015.
SkyWest Airlines operates a fleet of approximately 15 E175 and 39 EMB 120 Brasilia aircraft. ExpressJet Airlines operates 226 aircraft of the ERJ 145 family and is the largest ERJ operator in the world.
In a separate deal with Embraer, announced in June of 2013, SkyWest became the launch customer of the E175-E2, ordering 100 aircraft with 100 additional options, for deliveries beginning in 2020.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. SkyWest Airlines currently operates 10 Bombardier CRJ900s (CL-600-2C10s) including the pictured N223AG (msn 10010) arriving at Long Beach.
Alaska SkyWest aircraft slide show: