An announcement on Monday, February 24th revealed that United Express regional affiliate Trans States Airlines, or TSA, is going to shut down its operations for good. This decision was made in the wake of a severe aircraft captain shortage and monetary losses from its operations in an ever-tightening regional aviation market.
However, the shut down of TSA is going to be a well planned and well thought out solution. As CEO Rick Leach explained in an official statement, the re-location of aircraft and company assets, as well as pilots, flight attendants, dispatchers, mechanics, etc, would be progressively and gradually moved to other United Express regional affiliates such as ExpressJet, where United has focused it’s regional expansion and growth in.
The determinants for why TSA is going out of business fell under the main underachievement of operational expectations due to the lack of qualified PIC individuals who could act as captains on TSA flights. United also has experienced its own shifts in regional airline market utilization, which is involving more and more airline and aircraft consolidation to fit its fleet renewal strategy.
TSA expects that a good portion of it’s 41 Embraer-145 jets will remain flying for the beginning part of the summer, however, the company CEO expects complete assimilation into other United Express carries to be finished by the end of the year.
The news from Trans States came soon after United announced it would add 36 ERJ-145s at fellow regional partner ExpressJet over the next 12 months, raising the number of 50-seat Embraer jets at that United Express carrier to 125. The carrier has also seen 50-seat expansion with the arrival of the CRJ550, a shortened version of the CRJ700, which allows for multi-class flights on previously single-class routes.
United will then plan to extend their multi-year capacity purchase agreement to allow for the growth at ExpressJet, which expects to add crew bases and expand facilities at United hubs such as Denver and Chicago. As part of the agreement, ExpressJet will continue to phase out its once 25-strong fleet of 76-seat Embraer E175s.