SkyWest Charter (CW, St. George Municipal) has asked a US federal court to direct the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to rule on its application to conduct scheduled passenger operations as a commuter air carrier 19 months after it lodged its paperwork, Russell Childs, chief executive officer and president of SkyWest, said during the company’s 2024 first quarter financial results.

The DOT’s failure to act on SkyWest Charter's (SWC) application has prevented the Part 298 specialist from providing adequate air services to smaller communities, it argued in its complaint, seen by ch-aviation, and urged the United States District Court Southern Region of the Central Division – District of Utah to force the DOT to take action on its application.

The charter company sent a letter to US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on March 12, stating its disappointment that the DOT had not yet acted on SWC’s commuter air carrier application filed in June 2022. “Had SWC opted to apply to DOT for a certificate of public convenience and necessity rather than a commuter air carrier authorisation, the Department would have been legally obligated to act months ago [...]. But because SWC chose to pursue commuter authority, DOT apparently perceives it can delay issuance of a decision indefinitely,” SkyWest Charter said in the letter.

SkyWest Charter originally planned to debut in October 2022 as a commuter air carrier serving 25 underserved US routes, employing the company’s CRJ200 fleet. The ch-aviation fleets module shows the charter specialist has sixteen CRJ200ERs due none of which are active as yet, however.

“We continue to believe SkyWest Charter is the best possible answer for small community air service [...]. Regardless of the status of our pending application for commuter authority at the DOT, we are pleased with the strong demand for SWC’s product and are very optimistic about its future,” said Childs, pointing out it will remain a small portion of its overall business, with the primary focus still on contract flying and contracts with major carriers such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.

Rob Simmons, the company’s chief financial officer, added that sports charter bookings for this winter were significantly higher than initially anticipated, generating over USD10 million in revenue during the quarter. Parent entity, SkyWest, posted a net income of USD60 million from USD803 million in operating revenues during 2024’s first quarter.