Sky Talk

No. 6 The dismantling of the former American Eagle Airlines

Star-Telegram

The number of aircraft flown by the former American Eagle Airlines, now called Envoy Air, got smaller and smaller in 2014.

With pilots rejecting a contract offer in March that would have guaranteed larger aircraft in its fleet in exchange for pilot pay scale freezes until 2018, the future of Envoy Air looked dim.

The airline, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary by American Airlines Group, had older aircraft retired with no new airplanes coming in to its fleet. Earlier this fall, American said it would transfer 47 CRJ-700 aircraft from Envoy to PSA Airlines, a separate subsidiary at American.

And in November, management said it was transferring at least another 50 planes from Envoy. Some of those will go to Piedmont Airlines, another subsidiary of American while the rest are split between Trans States Airlines and another outside carrier.

American is trying to limit the cost of its regional service, which is flown under the American Eagle brand name and livery, and uses 10 different regional carriers to operate Eagle flights. Originally, American Eagle only referred to the regional airline owned by American Airlines but once American started using other regional operators, it changed Eagle’s name to Envoy Air.

But in December, pilots agreed to a concessionary contract that guaranteed American would place 40 new larger regional jets with Envoy starting in the fourth quarter of 2015. In exchange, the pilots agreed to pay scale freezes until 2018 with 1 percent annual pay increases after that. So it appears, Envoy will survive for now.

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