SkyWest traverses the skies in every direction -- not just west. The airline operates through two main segments: SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet. SkyWest has destinations to about 275 cities in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, supporting 3,500 daily departures. Combined, SkyWest's carriers operate a fleet of about 700 aircraft consisting of Canadair regional jets (CRJs, made by Bombardier) and turboprops. SkyWest also has a code-sharing agreement with Delta Air Lines and United Continental's United Airlines. (Code-sharing allows airlines to sell tickets on one another's flights.)
SkyWest operates through two reportable segments: SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet (which reflects the combined operations of Atlantic Southeast and ExpressJet Delaware). SkyWest Airlines provides regional jet and turboprop service to airports primarily located in the Midwestern and western United States. ExpressJet provides regional jet service principally in the US, primarily from airports located in Atlanta; Cleveland; Chicago (O'Hare); Denver; Houston; Detroit; Memphis; Minneapolis; and Washington Dulles.
Along with regional passenger transportation, which accounts for nearly all of its sales (98%), SkyWest provides ground handling services -- loading and unloading of aircraft -- for other airlines at several of the airports where it operates.
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During 2014 about 90% of SkyWest's passenger revenues related to contract flights, where Delta, United, Alaska, American, and US Airways controlled scheduling, ticketing, pricing, and seat inventories.
SkyWest's balance sheet has experienced turbulence over the years. Revenues fell 2% from 2013 to 2014 from $3.3 billion to $3.2 billion. The revenue drop were attributed to decreases in fuel, landing fee, station rent, and engine overhaul reimbursements from major partners.
After posting positive net income in 2013, SkyWest suffered a net loss of $24 million in 2014 due to additional special item expenses triggered by its decision in November 2014 to remove the EMB120 aircraft from service. It also incurred impairment charges related to writing-down certain long-lived assets.
SkyWest's operating cash flow has remained flat the last three years. In 2014 operating cash flow decreased by about 2% to $285 million due to a decrease in cash provided by restricted cash and accounts payable and accrued aircraft rents.
Amid growing demand by airline giants to cut costs by outsourcing regional flights, SkyWest is moving to further diversify its operations and marketplace presence. Owning ExpressJet positions SkyWest as a strong competitor for more business from Delta and United, as well as for contracts from other carriers. Industry turbulence, however, is growing as air carriers move to consolidate.
In 1972 Ralph Atkin founded SkyWest with one airplane that served three points in Utah. The company doubled in size in 1984 when it bought California-based Sun Aire Lines; two years later it went public. Growth also was fueled by the trend toward code-sharing agreements between major airlines and regional airlines serving rural markets. SkyWest jumped on board with Delta in 1987 to become one of four Delta Connection carriers.