US regional carrier SkyWest Airlines has posted a net profit for 2021, citing travel demand recovery from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, echoing comments from larger rival Southwest, the carrier cautioned that staffing issues could cause problems in 2022. With demand recovering rapidly from the pandemic, many US carriers are struggling to recruit enough staff to cope with the impact on operations of bad weather and sickness related to the COVID-19 virus.
SkyWest (SKYW) said it was therefore expecting its flying hours to be down when compared with 2021.
“Given recent staffing challenges, we currently anticipate our block hours in 2022 may be down approximately 10%-15% from our 2021 production,” the airline said in a financial results statement on February 3, 2022.
The airline reported net profit of $112 million in 2021. This compares to a $9 million net loss in 2020. Meanwhile, full-year operating revenue was $2.7 billion, an increase compared to $2.1 billion in 2020.
“We continued to see very strong demand for our product during the fourth quarter. While we are facing new headwinds as the industry prepares to operate in a post-pandemic environment and we work to rebalance staffing, we remain focused on delivering an exceptional product,” Chip Childs, Chief Executive Officer of SkyWest (SKYW), announced in the statement.
Looking ahead to the future, SkyWest (SKYW) anticipates placing 47 new E175 aircraft into service in 2022 and early 2023. However, it said that it was working with its airline partners, including American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), Delta and Alaska, to “optimize” the timing of upcoming fleet deliveries and that delivery dates could change.
SkyWest (SKYW) ended 2021 with 509 aircraft in service, according to the carrier. The airline’s fleet comprises 211 Embraer ERJ-170s, 140 Bombardier CRJ-200s, 114 Bombardier CRJ-700s, and 44 Bombardier CRJ-900 jets.
In 2021, SkyWest (SKYW) signed a non-binding agreement with Embraer’s Eve for the option to order up to 100 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Eve anticipates eVTOL certification by 2025.