SkyWest Inc., cited by an ExpressJet Holdings Inc. investor as a possible merger partner for the rival regional airline, is considering acquisitions as a way to grow, according to SkyWest's chief financial officer Brad Rich.

As SkyWest seeks to expand, new contract opportunities from larger carriers have "kind of slowed down of late," Rich said in an interview Wednesday. "So one alternative is to look for ways to grow through acquisitions."

ExpressJet "would be just one opportunity we see," Rich said, declining to name other potential targets for the St. George-based airline.

SkyWest operates commuter flights for UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and Delta Air Lines Inc., and Houston-based ExpressJet flies mainly for Continental Airlines Inc., Delta and under its own name.