Air Transport World

Trans Air - after Piedmont, what's next? (Piedmont Airlines)

Trans Air-- After Piedmont, what's next?

For 10 weeks early this year the people at Trans Air answered the phone this way: "Trans Air/Piedmont Commuter.' But on April 1, the phone salutation shrank to just "Trans Air.'

The relationship between the North Carolina major and its Florida commuter partner lasted 75 days longer than Piedmont's union with Southern Express, another Florida commuter. Southern Express staff stopped using the Piedmont identifier the first day of the contract, back on Jan. 15, 1986.

Industry analysts Piedmont hired to check its Florida commuter partners claimed surprise when the major picked Trans Air and Southern Express. "We thought PBA would be the ideal pick, but they had gotten a lot of negative press,' explained one analyst. "Gull (Air) was still aligned with Ozark, and Aero Coach didn't appear to have the resources.'

Serious setback

On paper, Southern Express and Trans Air apparently seemed ideal mates to the all-jet Piedmont Shuttle system started in October of last year. (ATW, 1/86). For both commuters, the decline of PBA sounded a note of opportunity. But both carriers suffered severe problems trying to cash in on that opportunity.

Southern Express openly challenged PBA's claim that it would return to service quickly. "Once FAA gets you down like that, there's no coming back,' claimed Nick Finazzo, Southern Express president, as PBA resumed service in late November 1984. …

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