Sky Regional eyes 28 Feb start date for US routes

Washington DC
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Canadian carrier Sky Regional intends to start regional flying on 28 February under the Air Canada Express name, the airline says in a US Department of Transportation (DOT) regulatory filing dated 14 January.

Toronto island-based Sky Regional is seeking DOT approval to fly transborder flights between USA and Canada after expanding its flying agreement with Air Canada. It also requests authorisation to display the designator codes of Air Canada's codeshare partners.

An attachment to the filing shows that Sky Regional will initially fly between Toronto and Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Newark Liberty, New York LaGuardia, Philadelphia and Washington National airport. It will also operate routes from Montreal to Chicago and New York. Start-up dates for the individual routes are unspecified, but Sky Regional has indicated a date of 28 February to start overall flying to the USA.

Air Canada is operating many of these routes now with its 15 Embraer 175 aircraft, but it has plans to transition the 76-seaters over to Sky Regional between February and June as part of a new capacity purchase agreement. That feeder now performs regional service between Montreal Trudeau and Billy Bishop Toronto City airport as Air Canada Express, with slots allocated to the mainline carrier in 2010.

Air Canada files from Toronto Pearson to Newark as a mainline carrier, schedules in Innovata show. Its regional partner Jazz Aviation also provides flights on the route. ExpressJet and Republic also fly between the two cities.

Air Canada and Jazz fly between Pearson and Boston Logan, competing with Delta Air Lines partner Pinnacle.

Jazz flies to Dallas/Fort Worth International for Air Canada with competing traffic from American Airlines. Air Canada's mainline operation flies between Toronto and Chicago O'Hare along with ExpressJet and GoJet.

Air Canada is the sole airline flying between Toronto and LaGuardia but competes with Republic and Air Wisconsin on the Philadelphia route. Air Canada and Jazz fly to Washington National airport alongside Air Wisconsin.

Jazz flies from Montreal to Chicago O'Hare five times per week. American Eagle, Express Jet and GoJet operate on that route as well.

Air Canada and American Eagle are the only two airlines flying between Montreal and LaGuardia airport.

The flagship carrier has decided to transition these shorter routes away from its mainline operation to find cost savings, a strategy permitted by a scope clause within a new agreement formed with the Air Canada Pilots Association last year. The fleet change will also allow the airline to start up its new low-cost carrier Rouge at a lower cost base than the mainline fleet.