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Delta Connection is the name under which a number of individually owned regional airlines and three wholly owned regional carriers operate short and medium haul routes in association with Delta Air Lines Inc. Mainline carriers often use regional airlines to operate services in order to increase frequency, serve routes that would not sustain larger planes, serve routes using cheaper labor, or for other competitive reasons.



A Delta Connection Bombardier CRJ-701, operated by SkyWest Airlines, landing at Vancouver International Airport
A Delta Connection Canadair CRJ-100ER, operated by Comair, landing at BWI in 2007

Delta Connection began in 1984 as a means of expanding the Delta network to smaller markets via partnerships with regional airlines.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) began Delta Connection service on March 1, 1984, from the Atlanta hub, with a substantial later presence at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. ASA was a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines under the Delta Connection, Inc., holding company from May 11, 1999, to September 7, 2005, when it was purchased by SkyWest, Inc, the parent company of SkyWest Airlines.

Ransome Airlines operated Delta Connection flights from March 1, 1984, to June 1, 1986, when it was purchased by Pan Am.

Comair began Delta Connection service on September 1, 1984. In January, 2000, Comair became a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines under the Delta Connection, Inc., holding company.

Rio Airways operated Delta Connection flights from the Dallas/Fort Worth hub from June 1, 1984, to December 14, 1986, when the airline declared bankruptcy.

Business Express operated Delta Connection flights in the northeastern US and Canada from June 1, 1986 to March 15, 2000. The company was purchased by AMR Corporation in 1999 and integrated into the American Eagle Airlines system in 2000.

Trans States Airlines operated Delta Connection flights from March 1998 to March 31, 2000, mainly from the Boston and New York focus cities.

American Eagle has provided code-share service from Los Angeles to cities in California since January 18, 2002. The agreement allows Delta to sell seats on certain American Eagle flights and to give Delta passengers SkyMiles frequent flier credit on designated flights.

On November 2, 2004 Atlantic Coast Airlines ended service as a Delta Connection Carrier. Atlantic Coast Airlines reinvented itself as a low fare carrier called Independence Air based at Washington Dulles Airport. Independence Air and its parent company Flyi was not a great success. Despite popularity with passengers, it was very unprofitable. Flyi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and soon after officially shut down on January 5, 2006

On December 22, 2004, Delta Air Lines announced that Republic Airways would order and operate 16 Embraer 170 aircraft under the Delta Connection banner. Since then, it has been announced that Republic Airways subsidiary, Shuttle America, would operate the flights. The initial flight took place on September 1, 2005.

On May 4, 2005, Delta Air Lines announced that Mesa Air Group subsidiary Freedom Airlines would operate up to 30 Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft under the Delta Connection banner beginning in October 2005. Shortly after the announcement, the decision was made for Freedom to operate the Embraer ERJ 145 for Delta Connection instead of the CRJ.

On December 21, 2006, it was announced that Big Sky Airlines would become a Delta Connection carrier, using eight Beechcraft 1900 turboprops out of Boston's Logan International Airport.

On March 1, 2007, it was announced that ExpressJet Airlines would operate 10 Embraer ERJ 145XR aircraft under the Delta Connection banner beginning in June 2007. ExpressJet will operate flights from Los Angeles International Airport. It was later announced that ExpressJet would operate an additional 8 aircraft as Delta Connection.

On April 30, 2007, it was announced that Pinnacle Airlines would operate 16 Bombardier CRJ-900 under the Delta Connection banner starting in December 2007.

On July 3, 2008, Delta and ExpressJet announced that they had terminated their agreement and that ExpressJet operations as Delta Connection would end by September 1, 2008.[1]

On November 8, 2008, Delta and Mesaba Airlines announced that the 7 CRJ-900 aircraft previously operated by Freedom as well as 8 new order aircraft will be operated by Mesaba as Delta Connection beginning February 12, 2009.

The new Delta Connection will include the combined regional airline carriers of both the Old Delta Connection and Northwest Airlink as Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines merge.

The preceding airlines are all owned and managed by Delta Air Lines Inc, and will continue to fly and d/b/a as Delta Connection, while the following airlines are owned and managed independently, and flown under contract for the greatly expanded and enlarged New Delta Connection brand and network:


Codeshare Agreements

American Eagle code shares with Delta Connection for flights operating from Los Angeles International Airport to various destinations in California. American Eagle does not operate in Delta Connection colors on any of its flights or aircraft, as it is owned by AMR Corporation, a company which owns American Airlines, a member of the Oneworld alliance, rival to Delta's SkyTeam.


An Atlantic Southeast Airlines CRJ-700 with a Comair CRJ-200 in the foreground.
A Chautauqua Airlines ERJ-145LR in Delta Connection livery.
The new livery on a Comair CRJ-100ER.
Shuttle America ERJ-170.
A Skywest CRJ-700.
Aircraft Total Notes
Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA)
Bombardier CRJ-200 110
Bombardier CRJ-700 38
Bombardier CRJ-900 10
Chautauqua Airlines
Embraer ERJ-145 LR 22
Bombardier CRJ-200 76
Bombardier CRJ-700 15
Bombardier CRJ-900 13
Compass Airlines
Embraer 175LR 36 11-Delta Connection, 25-NW Airlink
Freedom Airlines
Embraer ERJ-145 LR 30
Mesaba Airlines
Bombardier CRJ-200 19 All-NW Airlink
Bombardier CRJ-900 41 +36 options; 29-Delta Connection, 11-NW Airlink
Saab 340B+ 48 18-Delta Connection, 30-NW Airlink
Pinnacle Airlines
Bombardier CRJ-200 125 25-Delta Connection, 100-NW Airlink
Bombardier CRJ-900 16
Shuttle America
Embraer 170 2
Embraer 175 16
SkyWest Airlines
Bombardier CRJ-200 47
Bombardier CRJ-700 13
Bombardier CRJ-900 21
Embraer Brasilia EMB-120 11
Total Aircraft
Bombardier CRJ-200 381
Bombardier CRJ-700 66
Bombardier CRJ-900 101 1 orders, 36 options
Embraer ERJ-145 LR 52
Embraer 170 2
Embraer 175 52
Embraer Brasilia EMB-120 11
Saab 340B+ 48


Delta Connection Academy is an airline flight school, wholly owned by Delta Air Lines, one of the few mainline carriers in the world to own their training centers to help source their regional airline affiliates staffing needs. The academy is located in Sanford, Florida on the grounds of the Orlando Sanford International Airport. The school serves all the Delta Connection carriers above, and has been known to train pilots for over 30 other airlines in the world. The school currently issues more FAA certificates than any other Part 141 school in the country.

Incidents and accidents

  • On August 21, 1995, Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 529, an Embraer Brasilia crashed near Carrolton, Georgia. Officials determined that a propeller blade loss and inability to feather the remaining blades caused the accident, which killed 8 of the 28 passengers and crew on board.[2][3][4][5][6][7]
  • On January 9, 1997, Delta Connection Flight / Comair Flight 3272, an Embraer Brasilia crashed near Monroe, Michigan. The flight, which originated from Cincinnati, Ohio was on approach to Detroit. All 29 passengers and crew were killed when the plane crashed 18 miles from the airport. Officials say that ice buildup may have been a factor in the crash.
  • On 27 August, 2006, at 6:07 am Eastern Time, a Delta branded flight operated by Comair, Delta Air Lines Flight 5191, crashed after takeoff at Lexington, Kentucky's Blue Grass Airport, with 47 passengers and three crew members on board. The first officer survived.
  • On February 18, 2007, Shuttle America, operating as Delta Connection flight 6448, skidded off the runway and crashed through a fence while landing on runway 28 at 3:14pm at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport at the end of the Delta Connection flight from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.[citation needed] None of the 70 passengers and four crew on board the Embraer 170 were reported injured. The flight was operated by Shuttle America.


External links



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