American Airlines has announced that it will cut ties with regional affiliates ExpressJet and Trans States in an effort to simplify regional operations. American has contracts with the two carriers through 2019, and the contracts will not be re-signed once they expire.
In a company memo, American said that routes operated by the two regional carriers will be shifted to other regional airlines, so the change shouldn’t affect passengers. ExpressJet services, based largely out of Dallas, will be shifted to SkyWest Inc., which is ExpressJet’s parent company. Meanwhile, Trans States services, which are out of Washington, will be given to Envoy Airlines.
Through the memo, American says that its decision to terminate its relationship with ExpressJet and Trans States is a move to create a “seamless experience” between flights on the mainline carrier and on American Eagle, the brand used by regional carriers operating for American.
Once contracts with ExpressJet and Trams States end, The number of regional airlines operating for American will be reduced to seven. Ten carriers operated American Eagle flights at the start of 2018, but Air Wisconsin Airlines’ contract was terminated in February.
Despite American’s decision to cut regional affiliates, the carrier recently placed orders for 30 regional aircraft. The order includes 15 Embraer E175 aircraft, 15 Bombardier CRJ900s, and options for 15 additional CRJ900s. Both aircraft types seat 76 passengers.
American’s Embraer order is worth USD$705 million at list prices, while the Bombardier order is worth USD$719. It is industry standard for airlines to receive discounts on orders of this type.
The aircraft will be used as part of American’s fleets of regional jets with large premium cabins. All new aircraft will have 12 first class seats and will be used to move passengers between large hubs and smaller towns. The CRJs will feature an “Atmosphere” cabin to provide for an enhanced air travel experience.
New Embraer planes will be operated by Envoy Air, while the Bombardier jets will go to PSA Airlines.
American Eagle’s current fleet includes 148 E175s and 188 CRJ900s.
Featured image by Ryan Ewing