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United Airlines affiliate Trans States Airlines to cease flying

Feb. 24, 2020
4 min read
United Airlines affiliate Trans States Airlines to cease flying
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A regional airline name familiar to many travelers in smaller communities will be gone by the end of the year when Trans States Airlines stops flying.

The demise of Trans States Airlines will have no impact on passengers, as 36 of its Embraer ERJ-145 jets will be transferred to ExpressJet Airlines by the end of 2020. Both ExpressJet and Trans States Airlines operate feeder flights for United Airlines under the United Express brand.

The shut down was communicated to Trans States Airlines employees in a letter from parent Trans States Holdings CEO Rick Leach on Monday that was viewed by TPG. The move does not impact Compass Airlines or GoJet Airlines, which are also owned by Trans States Holdings.

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St. Louis-based Trans States Airlines fell victim to a several factors that have wreaked havoc on regional airlines over the past few years. An industry-wide pilot shortage made hiring difficult, and a move by its mainline partner United to streamline its regional providers drove the decision to close the airline, Leach told employees.

"In recent years, the regional aviation landscape has changed dramatically and continues to do so," he said. "Our industry has never been more competitive and the margins for success at the regional level are razor thin."

"We have come to the extremely difficult decision that an organized and well-planned wind-down of the Trans States operation is the most viable course of action," said Leach.

Trans States Airlines spokeswoman Stacey Ross confirmed the plan to shut down by year-end. A separate statement from ExpressJet confirmed that they will add the carrier's 36 ERJ-145s to their fleet by February 2021.

Related: Delta to boot Compass, GoJet as regional affiliates

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Other regional airlines have fallen victim to the pilot shortage. Republic Airways cited hiring issues in its 2016 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, and Great Lakes Aviation shut down entirely in 2018.

All of the major carriers are in the process of consolidating their regional flying. Delta Air Lines unveiled plans to end its relationships with Compass Airlines and GoJet Airlines in July amid a move to partner with just three regional carriers.

United, while not naming Trans States Airlines specifically, told employees in a separate memo viewed by TPG Monday that a "series of fleet movements" at its United Express partners would occur in 2020.

"Fleet movements between regional carriers are not uncommon, and these changes will not impact any United mainline flying or staffing," the Chicago-based carrier said. "These transitions will improve our efficiency and set up United, and our partners, for an even better operation moving forward."

Related: United is adding 20 more dual-class Bombardier CRJ550 jets with GoJet

United expanded its flying agreement for the Bombardier CRJ550 with GoJet this month. The regional carrier will operate 20 more of the 50-seat jets that include a first class-cabin. It expects to have a total of 74 aircraft by 2021.

When Trans States Airlines finally stops flying, it will be the end of a nearly 40-year history that included partnerships with storied names like Trans World Airlines (TWA). Founded in 1982, Trans States Airlines flew as Trans World Express (TWE) from 1985 until TWA merged with American Airlines in 2001. The carrier also had partnerships with Delta Air Lines and USAir, later US Airways, during its 38-year run.

Updated with Trans States Airlines comment.

Featured image by Getty Images

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees