SkyWest, United Agree on 11-Year Contract

SkyWest, United Agree on 11-Year Contract

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- SkyWest and United Airlines have agreed to an 11-year contract that potentially could more than double the size of the regional carrier's fleet.

The contract is subject to approval by the boards of both companies, and, by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. United filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December.

The deal envisions the St. George-based airline's fleet increasing from the current 110 planes to 227 aircraft.

United has committed to providing the commuter airline with 30 new 70-seat jets by mid-2005, said Brad Rich, SkyWest chief financial officer.

Rich said the expansion eventually would mean at least 3,000 new jobs. SkyWest now employs 6,000.

Most of the new services and employment probably would be in the expanding Denver and Dallas-Fort Worth markets, Rich said.

No financial terms were released Tuesday, but United said it would be paying cheaper rates for commuter services under the deal.

Rich said only that SkyWest will be watching costs especially closely under the agreement.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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