Alaska to exercise E175 options with SkyWest

Alaska Air Group will exercise its eight options for the Embraer 175 with SkyWest Airlines, says chief executive Brad Tilden.

The Seattle-based carrier will use the aircraft to replace the eight 70-seat Bombardier CRJ700s that the Utah-based regional airline currently operates for it over the next 15 months, he says on the sidelines of the Airports Council International (ACI) North America Jumpstart conference in Seattle today.

Tilden adds that the number of aircraft SkyWest operates for Alaska will remain flat.

The two carriers plan to finalise the details of the aircraft deal soon.

Alaska committed to seven 76-seat E175s, as well as the eight options, with SkyWest in November 2014 and executives said that they could opt to replace CRJ700s with the E-Jets a month later.

However, Alaska executives have since been mum on whether they would take the additional aircraft.

Alaska will debut the E175s on new flights between Seattle Tacoma International airport and both Milwaukee and Oklahoma City, and between Portland International airport and St Louis on 1 July.

New service between Portland and Austin with the aircraft from 5 November was announced today.

“What it allows you to do is the longer thin markets,” says Tilden. “I think Portland will see a fair bit of the Embraer 175.”