The key to a positive future for the largest U.S. regional carriers, albeit an uncomfortable one for many of them, may have surfaced near the end of the SkyWest conference call on its first-quarter 2012 earnings: first survive, and then potentially thrive. SkyWest is one of many U.S. regional carriers struggling to return to consistent profitability, in part because its cost-cutting major airlines partners have put the squeeze on their fixed-fee-flying contracts—to the point that they ...

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