SkyWest and Trans States bid on American E175 contract

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Updated with additional comments from Mesa Airlines

SkyWest Inc and Trans States Holdings have submitted bids to operate up to 60 Embraer 175 aircraft for American Airlines.

Russell Childs, president of SkyWest, and Richard Leach, president of Trans States, confirm that they have both submitted bids to operate the aircraft at the Regional Airlines Association (RAA) convention in St. Louis.

“Yes, we have submitted a bid but so has just about everyone else,” says Leach.

Mesa Airlines, who is prepping to introduce the first of 30 E175s with United Airlines in June, is also interested.

We are in discussions with them regarding some other aircraft,” says Jonathan Ornstein, chief executive of Phoenix-based Mesa, following questions on whether they were bidding on the E175 contract.

Mesa will announce plans to add six more Bombardier CRJ900s to its fleet with American "soon", he says. These are in addition to the four CRJ900s it disclosed in February.

Scott Kirby, president of Fort Worth, Texas-based American, said in April that the airline was in “final negotiations” with a couple of operators for the E175s.

Pilots at American-subsidiary Envoy rejected a contract that guaranteed them the aircraft in March. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) cited additional concessions on top of those they agreed to while American operated under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the move.

Executives at Republic Airlines said that they are not bidding for the aircraft earlier in May.

Other possible operators include Air Wisconsin and American’s wholly-owned regional carrier’s Piedmont Airlines and PSA Airlines.

American will take delivery of the 76-seat regional jets in 2015 and 2016, and has options to take 40 more in later years.

SkyWest recently added the E175 to its operating certificate in preparation for launching service with the type with United on 17 May, says Childs. It will fly 40 of the type by 2015.

Trans States-subsidiary Compass Airlines operates 36 E175s under contract with Delta Air Lines.

Both SkyWest and Trans States, along with their subsidiaries, already operate a number of aircraft under contract with American or its US Airways subsidiary.