SkyWest Inc, the holding company that owns and operates SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet, expects to conclude more deals for 70- and 90-seat aircraft within the next six months, following-up on its commitment to buy 100 Mitsubishi MRJ90s on 11 July, says chief financial officer Michael Kraupp.
Both Bombardier and Embraer have proposed 76-seat offerings for SkyWest to chose from, but negotiations with Mitsubishi progressed more quickly. The agreement in principle that was announced last week should result in a firm order within a few weeks, Kraupp says.
Embraer chief executive Frederico Curado told investors that he does not see SkyWest Inc’s commitment to purchase 100 Mitsubishi MRJ90 regional jets as a definite sign that the company intends to replace its entire fleet with MRJ models.
Speaking during a Tuesday conference call, Curado says he foresees a surge in demand from US mainline carriers for larger regional jets in the short- to medium-term before 2017, when the first Mitsubishi MRJ90 is scheduled for its first delivery. He says that he sees an opportunity for Embraer and other regional aircraft manufacturers to provide replacements for US-based airlines’ aging regional fleets in these near-term requirements.
SkyWest told Flightglobal earlier this month that it expects to conclude more deals for new 70- and 90-seat aircraft in the next few months to satisfy mainline carrier requirements during the next few years. It expects to firm up its MRJ order in the coming weeks.