Regional Airline Consolidation Ends Sky

Sky Regional Airlines will fold after losing its contract to supply regional feeder service for Air Canada in Central Canada and the eastern U.S. The carrier will transfer its fleet of E175 twin jets to Jazz Aviation, which now serves virtually the entire Air Canada regional network. “Air Canada is consolidating its regional flying with Jazz in response to the ongoing devastating impact of COVID-19 upon the airline industry,” Air Canada said in a statement. “This necessary realignment of our regional services will help Air Canada achieve efficiencies and reduce operating costs and cash burn by consolidating its regional operations with one provider.”

Sky Regional began by using leased Dash-8 turboprops to fly between Montreal and Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto 10 years ago. It bought 25 E175s to broaden its network throughout the region and in the U.S. as a regional contractor for Air Canada under the name Air Canada Express. Air Canada commended the service Sky Regional provided. “Sky Regional has provided excellent service to Air Canada and its passengers over the past decade with an impeccable safety record and excellent on-time performance and cost management,” Air Canada said. “We thank Sky and all of its employees for their effort, dedication, and valued partnership.”

As part of the deal worked out with Jazz, the regional carrier will retire all its Dash-8 300s in a move that has Atlantic Canada officials concerned. The smaller planes are used on routes to smaller cities  and there is concern that their absence means those places won’t see service restored after the pandemic. “I think post-pandemic, the reality of air travel is going to be quite different,” said Monette Pasher, executive director of the Atlantic Canada Airports Association. And we might see larger planes and a lot less frequency.”