By Joey Gerardi
A First Look at SkyWest Charters
SkyWest Charters this week rolled out the first aircraft in a livery differentiating it from other aircraft in its parent company’s fleet.
Two aircraft registered N923SW and N877AS are confirmed as airframes that will operate for SWC. There is a third plane wearing the SWC livery but the registration of it is unknown and more will be added as time goes on. The current three planes have been painted for at least a month but have been kept under wraps by the airline while doing proving flights and getting certified for operations. SkyWest did not respond to a request for comment regarding SWC.
SkyWest has been having a rough time over the last year. They requested to terminate over 30 communities served by the Essential Air Service — a government subsidy-based program intended to provide small communities with regular air connectivity — around the country in March 2022. Their reasoning behind the massive termination was the pilot shortage airlines in the U.S. are currently facing.
Now, just over a year later, the company’s answer to this shortage is reaching its final stages before being able to fly passengers. The answer: take out 20-seats from its Bombardier CRJ-200s, leaving them with only 30 seats so they can operate under different regulations under Federal Aviation Administration rules and operate them as “public charters” rather than “scheduled passenger flights.” As a result, the company can hire crew with fewer hours to fly these planes. It’s not unheard of as JSX, Contour and other airlines already operate under the “public charter” certification.
Service components such as aircraft, ticket counters and other fixed services will operate under SWC branding and will not be associated with any one major legacy carrier on board or in the airports at which the airline will operate. SWC cited a “codeshare with United and Delta” in these communities on the EAS proposals, but then later went back and made a revision to the proposals making it an interline partnership rather than codeshare.
SWC has submitted multiple of proposals with the Department of Transportation to fly these planes on EAS routes. These include the communities of Jamestown and Devils Lake both of which are in North Dakota, as well as Vernal and Moab, Utah. And it is likely that they will propose SWC flights to more cities in the coming months.
The communities in Utah weren’t in the original 31 cities they requested to terminate, meaning that no city in the SkyWest system or otherwise is safe from the 30-seat CRJ. As of yet the DOT has not yet awarded a contract with the EAS option due to no active or approved certificate, meaning the process is still ongoing.