SkyWest Airlines (United States of America) (OO, Salt Lake City) has confirmed in an earnings release that it expects to reduce its fleet of CRJ200s by 70 aircraft to around 130 by the end of 2020, with 40 earmarked for sale or part-out.

"We had over 200 CRJ200 flying in our system prior to the onset of COVID in the United States. With the anticipated reductions at Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) and our prorate fleet, we estimate reducing our CRJ200 fleet by approximately 70 aircraft by year-end. We have returned nineteen CRJ200s to Delta. We are also in the process of returning ten CRJ200s to third-party lessors. We currently anticipate having 40 excess CRJ200s by the end of 2020 and expect to sell or part out several of these aircraft," Chief Commercial Officer Wade Steel said during an earnings call.

SkyWest's capacity purchase agreement with Delta Air Lines, covering fifty-five CRJ200s, is scheduled to expire by the end of 2020. Nineteen of these aircraft (nine CRJ200ERs and ten CRJ200LRs) are owned by Delta and have already been returned, while the remaining 36 are owned by SkyWest.

According to the ch-aviation fleets ownership module, the other ten dry-leased CRJ200s are owned by Regional One (six) and Strategic Air Finance (four). SkyWest owns the remainder of its CRJ200s.

The airline said that the shortening of the type's estimated useful lives had contributed to approximately USD42 million in incremental depreciation expenses during the second quarter and would further increase these costs by about USD30 million in the second half of 2020.

While most of SkyWest's other fleet plans are proceeding as previously announced, the carrier said it has paused deliveries of CRJ700s dry-leased to GoJet Airlines (G7, St. Louis Lambert Int'l) for conversion into CRJ550s, which are then to be operated on behalf of United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare).

"We do not anticipate delivering the remaining 16 aircraft to the lessee. We are working with several parties to operate these aircraft at SkyWest. We believe these aircraft will be placed under contract with a major partner during the second half of 2021," Steel said.

In other news, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded SkyWest an Essential Air Service (EAS) contract at Alamosa, CO, starting on October 1, 2020. The airline will operate 12x weekly services to Denver Int'l using CRJ200 under a two-year contract worth USD3.5 million per year.

The Alamosa EAS is currently operated by Boutique Air (4B, San Francisco, CA), which flies 24x weekly to Denver using PC-12. There are no other scheduled flights from Alamosa.