Embraer chief executive Frederico Curado told investors that he does not see SkyWest Inc's commitment to purchase 100 Mitsubishi MRJ90 regional jets as a definite sign that the company intends to replace its entire fleet with MRJ models.

Speaking during a Tuesday conference call, Curado says he foresees a surge in demand from US mainline carriers for larger regional jets in the short- to medium-term before 2017, when the first Mitsubishi MRJ90 is scheduled for its first delivery. He says that he sees an opportunity for Embraer and other regional aircraft manufacturers to provide replacements for US-based airlines' aging regional fleets in these near-term requirements.

SkyWest Inc's subsidiary SkyWest Airlines operates a fleet of 314 aircraft, which is largely made up of Bombardier regional jets while its subsidiary ExpressJet operates 249 Embraer aircraft out of the 404 in its fleet. The two airlines operate contract services for US mainline carriers, including Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United and US Airways.

SkyWest told Flightglobal earlier this month that it expects to conclude more deals for new 70- and 90-seat aircraft in the next few months to satisfy mainline carrier requirements during the next few years. It expects to firm up its MRJ order in the coming weeks.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news