Regional carrier Skywest, along with its subsidiary ExpressJet, have lost 30 cities that were under RFP renewals. Additionally, ExpressJet will be losing another eight cities as United combines services at airports that were served by ExpressJet under a Continental CPA agreement and that also have United mainline service.
Notices went out to ExpressJet employees, offering them $1,000 to stay with the company until it turns over the 14 stations to the winning bidders, something that many employee's have called a "slap in the face."
Winners who will now handle United's regional operations at the cities lost include American Eagle, along with some smaller companies that offer just ticketing and ground service only. The small companies can submit rock bottom prices because they do not offer any health or flight benefits to its employees and often hire only part-time employees to work at stations.
United, the world's largest airline has been seeking to trim costs as it struggles like most other airlines to pay high fuel bills. In a statement by United, the carrier said it had to cut costs in order to remain "competitive" overall, and is part of a larger program to trim budgets.
American Eagle is offering jobs to ExpressJet employees in cities where both operated.
Some have complained that United no longer cares about quality or performance, both ExpressJet and Skywest have received high ratings for on-time arrivals, baggage handling and customer service, whereas Regional Elite, and American Eagle are routinely listed at the bottom of the stack.
In all, about 600 employees will be out of a job, some in as little as 30 days, but most between 90-120 days.
Here's a list of the cities being lost by ExpressJet: Allentown, PA Amarillo, TX Brownsville TX Birmingham AL Corpus Christi TX Lubbock TX Lafayette LA Little Rock AR Laredo TX Memphis TN Mobile AL Manchester NH Knoxville TN Louisville KY
Here's a list of the cities being lost by SkyWest: Bakersfield, CA Burbank, CA Eugene, OR Fargo, ND Fresno, CA Memphis, TN Medford, OR Carmel, CA Missoula, MT Portland, OR Palm Springs, CA Rapid City, SD Redmond, OR San Diego, CA Santa Barbara, CA Seattle, WA
Large cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco were extended by one year to 2013. Both are hubs for United who will be taking new bids in November-December 2012 and said it will decide on them in Feb 2013.
The cities affected by this move will still have SkyWest or ExpressJet planes flying for United, it is only the ground handling that United is changing.