The sting of scope

sting.jpgNo doubt pilots at St Louis-based Trans States Airlines are welcoming a tenative argreement boosting salaries for captains by nearly 12% while first officers are set to enjoy a 14.5% rise.

But what I find most interesting was this quote planted in the release issued by ALPA.

“Trans States pilots provided Trans States Holdings the financial resources to start up GoJet Airlines and purchase Compass Air,” said ALPA. “This TA finally recognises the sacrifices the TSA pilots have made to the continued growth of the company, and will allow both parties to move forward and expand this airline together.”

Trans States parent Trans States Holdings had to create GoJet several years back in part to circumvent a stipulation in the American pilot contract that prohibited American Connection carriers from operating aircraft larger than 50 seats — for anyone.  Republic Airways Holdings ran into its own problems with that little detail in American pilot contract, and had to pay fines to American while it worked to sort out operating certificates among its regional subsidiaries to comply with the scope restrictions of American’s contract.

The irony here Trans States is no longer an American Connection carrier — and its fleet is currently limited to 50-seat Embraer ERJs, which most pundits label as “undesirable.”  

Where does this leave Trans States in the future if 50-seaters continue their decline in popularity? Trans States Holdings hasn’t said which of its three subsidiaires — Trans States, Comapss or GoJet — will operate the 50 firm MRJs on order scheduled for delivery beginning in 2014.  Maybe this could be Trans States’ time to shine on a larger platform.    

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