At first blush it seems like quite a strange development. After all, why would United Airlines be hiring the regional carrier arm of American Airlines to handle operations at 8 airports across the south plus one in New York? Turns out it isn’t all that uncommon at all, and there is actually a good reason for it.
The airports in question are:
- Waco, TX
- College Station, TX
- Killeen/Fort Hood, TX
- Tyler, TX
- Monroe, LA
- Dallas Love Field, TX
- Del Rio, TX
- Beaumont/Port Arthur, TX
- Binghamton, NY
These happen to all be airports that United Express has recently been operating to with service provided by Colgan, a subsidiary of Pinnacle, the regional operator that declared bankruptcy recently and which is moving to terminate the contracts with United.
So United needs new service in those stations. The company has pulled some ERJ-135 aircraft out of storage and their ExpressJet arm is going to be operating those, but they also need folks on the ground to handle operations. And, much like outsourcing the flying, the company is also outsourcing that to another company that already has resources on the ground, namely American Eagle.
Turns out that such arrangements aren’t all that uncommon in the industry, especially in stations where there is limited service from any one carrier. That said, it does still seem a bit strange. I wonder if the American Eagle employees will learn SHARES faster/better than the legacy employees who are still struggling with it.
Hat tip to Darren @ Frequently Flying for noting the press release on this one.
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