United Airlines affiliate Trans States Airlines to cease flying

Feb 24, 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.

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.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news!

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

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 Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

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 spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • 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 $75 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 Pre✓®.
  • 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
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
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.