Air Transport World

Low costs as a way of life: Trans States Airlines pursues majors' business by aiming to be the lowest bidder.(Profile)(Company Profile)

BY VIRTUE OF THE SYMBIOTIC relationship between Regional carriers and their mainline partners, the Regionals consistently are watching the bottom line as their partners consistently try to cut costs.

There was a sharp reminder of this fact of life when United Airlines in early November issued an RFP to replace flying currently being done by its ally of nearly 20 years, Air Wisconsin.

"It's costs, costs, costs," agrees Trans States Airlines President and CO0 Richard Leach. With the St. Louis-based carrier providing service for United as well as US Airways and American Airlines, Leach knows full well the value of watching the bottom line, cutting and trimming costs to keep an airline flying. And yes, he intends to make a bid on the Air Wisconsin business. "We expect to grow our service with United and will respond to the RFP issue," he tells ATW. "The proposal is for 35-, 50- and 70-seat jets. We will respond to the area of our strength."

In an era of publicly traded Regionals, Trans States is an anomaly. Throughout most of its existence it has been controlled by a single investor, Chairman and CEO Hulas Kanodia, who maintains a low profile. It began flying in 1982 as a charter operation, Resort Air, and entered into an agreement with TWA in 1985 to operate as Trans World Express serving six cities in Missouri and Illinois with a fleet of 19 Metros. …

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