Trans States Airlines to shut down April 1, first US carrier to close amid coronavirus crisis

Mar 17, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Regional carrier Trans States Airlines appears set to become the first U.S. airline to shutter its doors in the wake of the coronavirus crisis that has grounded flights around the world.

The United Airlines affiliate will shut down on April 1 due to the “unforeseen impact of the coronavirus,” Trans States CEO Richard Leach told employees in an internal memo Tuesday viewed by TPG. The carrier was already planning to shut down by year-end, but the demand-related fallout surrounding COVID-19 has hastened its demise.

The move does not impact other carriers owned by its parent company St. Louis-based Trans States Holdings, including Compass Airlines and GoJet Airlines.

Get Coronavirus travel updates. Stay on top of industry impacts, flight cancellations, and more.

Trans States was not immediately available for comment on the memo.

The regional carrier’s shut down comes as airlines around the world cull schedules to keep up with plummeting demand. American Airlines plans to cut domestic capacity by up 30%, Delta Air Lines system capacity by 40%, and United is halving its operation.

Industry organization Airlines for America (A4A), which represents large airlines like American, Delta and United, has asked for more than $50 billion in aid from the U.S. government to get carriers through the crisis.

Related: US airlines seek at least $50 billion in aid to combat coronavirus crisis

That aid, if granted, will come too late for the likes of Trans States.

“It’s difficult to articulate or even comprehend the speed at which the coronavirus has changed our industry,” said Leach in the memo. “As of last week, we knew that the wind down would be accelerated, but we were confident that we would continue flying for United for some months.”

Leach explained that capacity cuts by United to Trans States’ schedule were “far deeper than we feared” and that the drawdown in its United Express operations was “faster than we could ever have imagined.”

Related: United Airlines affiliate Trans States Airlines to cease flying

United Express routes operated by Trans States Airlines in March 2020. (Image by Cirium)


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general Alexandre de Juniac warned Tuesday that the coronavirus-driven cash crunch that airlines face will lead to both consolidation and “unfortunately some airlines will be disappearing.”

The UK’s largest regional airline, Flybe, has already ceased operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trans States operated 43 Embraer ERJ-145s for United at the end of December, the mainline carrier’s latest fleet plan shows.

Featured image by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.