SkyWest Airlines has signed an agreement to buy more than $4 billion of Embraer jets as new Major Airline pilot contracts allow Regional Airlines to fly bigger planes.
The agreement contains 40 firm orders for 76-seat E175 jets, to be flown for United, and a conditional purchase of 60 more pending operating agreements with other major airlines, SkyWest said today in a statement. The deal includes options for 100 E175s, giving it a value of $8.3 billion at list prices.
United Airlines joined American Airlines and Delta Air Lines in crafting labor terms with pilots in recent months to allow for the placement of larger aircraft with Regional Airline partners.
The firm deliveries will begin in next year’s second quarter and run through mid-2015, SkyWest said. The planes will feature two-class cabins.
United Airlines has also signed a deal that will have SkyWest Airlines fly 40 of the new planes under the United Express brand.
The Embraer 175 is the first regional jet in the United Express fleet. The plane is anticipated to provide more comfort to travelers, with wider seats and aisles and bigger overhead bins.
The 76-seat aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2014 and 2015.
The 40 planes are in addition to the 30 Embraer aircraft that United previously said it was buying that will be run by a United Express carrier.
SkyWest Inc. said that it plans to buy 100 Embraer jets, with the remaining 60 aircraft considered conditional until it enters capacity purchase agreements with major airlines to run the planes.