Thursday, September 07, 2006

Inaugural Flight

Behold SkyWest's newest Jet - A Bombardier CRJ900 on the ramp at SLC. This is the first aircraft of this model in the SkyWest fleet and it took it's first flight (with passengers, second overall) to Nashville, TN (BNA) yesterday. I decided to take a day off and participate in this momentous occasion. I was lucky enough to get a first class seat from SLC to BNA which in it's self is a big deal since this is the first flight with first class service for SkyWest's Delta Connection operations. (The United Express CRJ700's have been equipped with a small first class cabin for more than a year.) This was a great plane (a giant relative to the 200's) carrying 70 passengers in two classes compared to 50 passengers (single class) on a CRJ200 or 70 passengers (single class) on a CRJ700.

This plane should provide a big boost for travelers to popular destinations with small runways that were previously unreachable by much of the SkyWest fleet. Jackson Hole is the quintessential model of this usage. The 900 made a round trip to JAC after returning me to SLC from BNA. JAC has a 6,000 foot runway and due to this realtively short runway length, has hither to only been served by EMB120s (turbo prop regional craft), and more recently with the CRJ700, though neither had a first class cabin. Thanks to the CRJ900s superb runway performance, it is the ideal aircraft for flights to JAC. The Fist Officer told me that in a pinch the 900 could land & take off with only about 3000 feet of runway!

Skywest should be proud. They have a beautiful new bird that will allow them to take passengers in comfort to more destinations and take their company to new heights as well.

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