Air Canada said that it has successfully completed the transfer of all 15 of its Embraer 175 aircraft, the smallest jet aircraft in Air Canada's fleet, to Sky Regional to operate the aircraft on behalf of Air Canada under the capacity purchase agreement between the parties. Sky Regional now operates 20 aircraft on behalf of Air Canada, under this agreement.
I am very pleased with the progress made in introducing more cost-competitive operations in a number of our key domestic and trans-border regional markets, said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer.
With the successful transfer of all of our 15 Embraer 175 jets, Sky Regional has demonstrated its proven ability as an Air Canada Express partner to maintain a seamless operation and customer experience on behalf of Air Canada. This is an important step both in Air Canada's regional carrier diversification strategy and our ongoing cost transformation program, given that Sky Regional's cost structure is more in keeping with that of the US regional carriers. It allows Air Canada to reduce the cost of its regional lift and thereby to better compete in the rapidly evolving North American regional markets as low cost operators continue to grow, both in Canada and the United States.
Sky Regional has been an Air Canada Express partner since May 2011, operating service between Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and Montreal Trudeau Airport with a fleet of Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop aircraft.
Since March 2013, Sky Regional has been phasing in the operation of a fleet of Embraer 175 regional jet aircraft on existing Air Canada short-haul regional routes, primarily from Toronto and Montreal to destinations in the northeast United States including La Guardia, Newark, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth, under the Air Canada Express banner.
Sky Regional currently employs approximately 550 people and is the sole Air Canada Express operator serving Billy Bishop Toronto City, Philadelphia, Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth airports. In addition to Sky Regional, Air Canada has capacity purchase agreements with its other regional airline partners, Jazz, Air Georgian and EVAS, that operate regional Air Canada Express flights on behalf of Air Canada.