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When a Regional Airline Fades, Big Planes Are the First to Go

American Eagle jets sit at gates outside the Central Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York
American Eagle jets sit at gates outside the Central Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New YorkPhotograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

American Airlines has decided to shift 47 larger jets away from its Envoy regional carrier. It’s a move designed to streamline operations, allowing Envoy to focus on a single plane. But it might also be a sign of the beginning of the end.

PSA Airlines, another regional unit absorbed in American’s merger with US Airways, will take the 76-seat Bombardier CRJ-700 jets given up by Envoy in 2016. The shift will leave Envoy—formerly known as American Eagle—with 152 Embraer jets that seat 50 passengers or fewer.