(it was explained to me but I can't recall the technical aspects of the explanation).
This is a reverse codeshare. American's union scope clause puts a limit on how many regional jets can be operated under American's code. There is also some sort of limit (don't remember this one) on American's right to codeshare with companies other than the owned subsidiary American Eagle.
The trick to get arround that is to operate all of American's flights out of the STL
hub, whether they be mainline or regional, with the REGIONAL airline's code. First you have the independent regionals flying out of STL
for American slap the AX
code on all their flights. Than you slap the same code on all of American's flights out of STL
. There is no limit on how many regional or non-Eagle regional jets may be operated on a regional's own code. Only an alert customer notices the difference between American and American Connection in the reservation system, so the goal of a codeshare is achieved.
This is a dirty trick of sorts. It is an open and obvious way to flout the scope clause while technically obeying the contract. Havn't heard of what the pilot's union has to say about this. Surely they are not pleased.