SkyWest Airlines’ second-quarter revenue surged 22% year-on-year after it added almost four dozen aircraft to its fleet.
The St George, Utah-based regional carrier generated $799 million in revenue during the quarter ending 30 June, up from $657 million in the same quarter of 2021.
But SkyWest’s profit slipped to $54 million in the second quarter, down from $62 million one year earlier, due partly to higher employee and fuel expenses.
SkyWest’s expenses for the quarter came in at $710 million, up from $542 million in the second quarter in 2021.
SkyWest says revenue jumped partly because it acquired 43 aircraft in the last year. The revenue bump also reflects “Covid-19 revenue concessions given to our major airline partners” in the second quarter of last year.
“The quarter results reflect the continued strong demand for our product and the impact of our improved fleet mix, as we continue investing in our E175 fleet,” says chief executive Chip Childs. He notes strong demand for SkyWest’s flights but cites “the constraints of an ongoing pilot imbalance and industrywide staffing challenges”.
SkyWest flies regional routes for American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines. It has been expanding its Embraer 175 fleet and now operates 223 of the type, plus 44 Bombardier CJR900s, 114 CRJ700s and 140 CRJ200s, for a total 521 aircraft.
SkyWest expects to receive two E175s for American Airlines in the third quarter. It placed 15 E175s into service with American in the first half of 2022 and expects to operate five more by year-end.
SkyWest received two E175s for Delta in the second quarter and expects to receive 14 more later this year.
For Alaska’s operation, SkyWest received six E175s in the second quarter. It expects to take one more E175 for Alaska in the first half of 2023.
Combined, SkyWest plans to place 47 E175s into service “by early 2023”, and by mid-2023 aims to operate 240 of the type.
The company booked about 335,000 block hours during the three-month period ending 30 June, up 3% year-on-year. For the rest of the year, executives say block hours will decline – partly due to the pilot shortage, which is hitting regional carriers particularly hard.
In the third quarter, SkyWest expects to fly 3-5% fewer hours than in the second quarter, with fourth quarter flying anticipated to be 13-17% less than in the second quarter.