SkyWest Airlines (United States of America) (OO, Salt Lake City) is studying the recently launched Bombardier Aerospace CRJ-550 regional twinjet, CEO Chip Childs said during the quarterly earnings call.

"I think that the [CRJ-]550 is a very compelling case that we worked particularly with one of our partners. We watch it very closely. I think it’s an intriguing product... At this point, we’re studying it, watching it very closely, we think it’s a very good compelling case," Childs said.

He underlined that the regional specialist operates the world's largest fleet of CRJ700s, which gives it ample flexibility when it comes to the fleet plans. The CRJ-550's type certificate is based on the -700 variant. According to the ch-aviation fleets module, SkyWest operates 103 CRJ-700s, more than double the number operated by the second largest operator, PSA Airlines (OH, Dayton James M. Cox).

SkyWest's customer United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) is the global launch customer for the CRJ-550. The first twenty-five jets of the type are due to arrive in 2019. United will outsource their operation to GoJet Airlines (G7, St. Louis Lambert Int'l).

Childs underlined that so far, SkyWest did not take any decisions regarding potential CRJ-550 orders or conversions.

"At this time, we also have some other opportunities with CRJ-700s that are equally, if not more compelling, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t think that that could put - we could play a good part in that some time down the road," the CEO said.

During the earnings call, Childs also announced that SkyWest entered into an agreement with an unnamed "domestic third-party operator" to lease twenty-nine CRJ-700s for a ten-year contract, which is still subject to the third-party finalising its flying contract. If confirmed, the first aircraft should start their lease terms in mid-2019.

SkyWest also announced it has extended its contract for thirty-eight CRJ-700s operated on behalf of American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth).

The regional specialist is also in the process of replacing nine CRJ900s operated on behalf of Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) with E175s. Four of the Bombardier jets will be returned to lessors and five will be leased to Air Canada (AC, Montréal Trudeau) following their phase-out from the Delta contract.

"Last quarter we were able to extend thirty-two aircraft including fifteen CRJ-900s, three CRJ-700s, fourteen CRJ200s from the legacy Delta contract. We also extended the term on the first nineteen E175s under contract with Delta from nine to 11 years. Separately, we were able to extend sixty CRJ-200s with United for an additional three years last quarter," Chief Commercial Officer Wade Steel said.