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Compass Airlines
NW CompassAirlines Logo.jpg
Founded 2006
Hubs Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
Memphis International Airport
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport


Member lounge Delta Sky Club
Alliance SkyTeam
Fleet size 36
Destinations 49
Parent company Delta Air Lines
Headquarters Fort Snelling, Minnesota
Key people Tim Campbell (President)

Compass Airlines is a regional airline headquartered on the grounds of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Fort Snelling, unincorporated Hennepin County, Minnesota; prior to December 16, 2009, it was headquartered in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, east of the Chantilly CDP.[1][2][3] It is a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines that began flying a single Bombardier CRJ200LR aircraft under the Northwest Airlink (now Delta Connection) brand between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Washington, D.C. on May 2, 2007. Its main base is Minneapolis/St. Paul. On August 21, 2007, it began flying two Embraer 175 76-passenger aircraft, with a planned fleet of 36 aircraft by December, 2008.



Compass Airlines was formed as a result of a contract dispute between Northwest Airlines and its pilots union, the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), due to a "scope clause" in the Northwest pilot contract, intended in its collective bargaining agreement to protect jobs and pay of those flying aircraft of 76 passenger seats or less.

A Compass Northwest Airlink Embraer ERJ-170-200LR shortly after takeoff from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport on February 28, 2009. The Embraer-175 aircraft in Compass airlines two-class configuration has 12 first-class and 64 economy-class seats.

In order to adapt to the agreement, and fulfill a need to serve the regional markets with smaller, more efficient aircraft and a cost-effective labor force, Northwest bought the operating certificate of bankrupt Independence Air on March 10, 2006, for $2 million. As a result, Compass' operations are limited to 76-seat aircraft or less, due to the language in the pilot contract at the mainline carrier. (During the concept phase, the subsidiary was known as "NewCo".) It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northwest.

On September 28, 2006, Compass Airlines officially received approval from the United States Department of Transportation to begin operations. On April 5, 2007, Compass Airlines received FAA certification to begin commercial passenger operations with a CRJ-200[4]

Compass' aircraft are not a direct replacement for the aging Douglas DC-9 aircraft flown by Northwest. However, they have a lower cost per available seat mile, making them more efficient to operate.

On May 2, 2007, the company announced their first successful revenue flight with the Canadair 50-seat CRJ, from Washington Dulles airport to Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.[5], which maintained the operating certificate. Compass implemented Embraer operations on August 21, 2007.

Compass Airlines has bases (Flight Crews and Maintenance) in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Detroit, MI, Memphis, TN.

The Compass mission is to provide safe and reliable air transportation and great customer service at a price that brings the customers back.



Compass Airlines E175 taking off from runway 31 at Regina International Airport.

The Compass Airlines fleet includes the following aircraft (as of October 2009)[6]:

Compass Airlines Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers
Embraer 175AR 36 76 (12/64)

All Compass Airlines aircraft are operated as Delta Connection. Flight numbers range between 5875 - 5889.

Maintenance Operations

In September, 2007, Compass announced that construction of a new hangar at Louisville International Airport in Louisville, KY, to be completed by the fall of 2008. The new hangar will have three aircraft bays to service its new fleet of 76-seat Embraer E-175 regional jet aircraft.

The project is planned to be about 136,000 square feet, and will be built on 4.8 acres (19,000 m2).

The $9.9 million project is expected to create about 70 full-time jobs with an annual payroll of $3.1 million. The jobs will include skilled mechanics, management and technical-services employees.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority in Frankfort granted the airline preliminary approval for $2 million in state tax incentives for up to 10 years just for using their city as their hangar location.[7]


  • On May 8, 2008 Compass Airlines Flight 2040 bound for Regina, Saskatchewan from Minneapolis with 74 passengers and 4 crew on board was forced to land in Fargo, North Dakota after a fire broke out in the restroom. The plane landed at 11:00 pm; no injuries to passengers were reported. A week after the incident, 19-year-old flight attendant Eder Rojas was charged with starting the fire.[8]


  1. ^ "About Us." Compass Airlines. Retrieved on September 26, 2009 and on December 18, 2009..
  2. ^ "Chantilly CDP, Virginia." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 26, 2009.
  3. ^ "Fort Snelling UT, Hennepin county, Minnesota." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on December 19, 2009.
  4. ^ Compass Airlines Receives DOT & FAA Approval To Begin Operations (USA Today: April 6, 2007)
  5. ^ Northwest Airlines' Subsidiary Compass Takes Off (New York Times: May 2, 2007)
  6. ^ Compass Airlines fleet list at Retrieved 2009-10-30.
  7. ^ Compass Airlines To Build Hangar In Louisville (Business First: September 14, 2007)
  8. ^ Angry flight attendant charged with setting fire on plane (CNN: May 15, 2008)

External links



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