Chautauqua Airlines

Chautauqua Airlines
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1973
Ceased operations December 31, 2014

As Delta Connection:
LaGuardia Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport

Frequent-flyer program SkyMiles
Alliance SkyTeam
Fleet size 41
Destinations 52
Parent company Republic Airways Holdings
Headquarters Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Key people Bryan Bedford (CEO)
Website Archived official website at the Wayback Machine (archive index)

Chautauqua Airlines, Inc., was an American regional airline and a subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings based in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States.[1] Prior to the shut down of operations, it operated scheduled passenger services to 52 airports in the United States and Canada via code sharing agreements as the Delta Connection for Delta Air Lines and AmericanConnection for American Airlines. Chautauqua previously flew feeder services for other airlines as well via code sharing agreements. Its last day in operation was December 31, 2014, at which time all flying was absorbed by the Shuttle America certificate.

Chautauqua had crew bases at LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Louisville International Airport, and Port Columbus International Airport.


Republic Airways Holdings traces it roots to Chautauqua. See also: History of Republic Airways Holdings

The airline was established on May 3, 1973, in Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York, USA, and started operations on August 1, 1974 using two 15-passenger Beechcraft 99 turboprop commuter aircraft. Chautauqua operated the Beechcraft 99 in Allegheny Commuter service and later as USAir Express. In 1984, the airline grew by adding five 19-passenger Fairchild Metro III aircraft to its fleet. In 1986, Chautauqua Airlines was purchased by GAC, an affiliate of Guarantee Security Life Insurance Company, and added twelve 30-passenger Saab 340 aircraft to replace slower Shorts 3-30s in the fleet.[2]

Chautauqua is historically significant for it is one of the last remaining companies still in business that once flew as a part of Allegheny Commuter, one of the first regional franchisee systems combining independent regional and commuter airlines under one seemingly contiguous and seamless brand. It no longer services the Chautauqua County-Jamestown Airport from which it began.

In 1994, Chautauqua Airlines posted its first loss in 20 years. The loss can be attributed to the crash of American Eagle Flight 4184. Media coverage of the crash spread quickly, and because of its association, Chautauqua Airlines lost passengers who had come to distrust commuter planes. However, Chautauqua Airlines bounced back, while renewing its code-share agreement with US Airways on May 8, 1994. To better support its growing operations, the corporate headquarters were relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana.[2]

Chautauqua was acquired by Wexford Management in January 1998 and was subsequently realigned under a holding company, Republic Airways Holdings.

Build up

In 1998, Chautauqua entered into an agreement with Embraer for the purchase of ten 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet aircraft. In 1999, Chautauqua entered into a 10-year code-share agreement with Trans World Airlines to operate at least 15 ERJ-145s for the airline. In June 2001, American Airlines, who had purchased TWA, renewed the existing regional jet service with Chautauqua for feeder service at St. Louis using 44-seat ERJ-140 aircraft. In March 2001, Chautauqua entered into a partnership with America West to operate as an America West Express affiliate using 12 ERJ-145 jets in the Eastern United States, but ended this service in February 2003. In November 2002, Chautauqua began flying regional jet service to Florida for Delta Air Lines. In March 2004, United Airlines announced that Chautauqua Airlines would operate 16 50-seat regional jets for United Express.[2]

In 2004, Republic Airways Holdings announced a new jet-service agreement with US Airways for the operation of Embraer E170 and Embraer E190 aircraft.[2] Chautauqua was one of the first U.S. operators of the E170, but was forced to transfer these aircraft to sister company Shuttle America in 2005 after the pilots’ union at American Airlines claimed the aircraft violated a “scope clause” regulating the size of regional aircraft operated under American brands. In the first half of 2007, Chautauqua took delivery of 24 Bombardier CRJs and flew them under a code-share agreement with Continental Airlines. Some of these aircraft were previously owned by Atlantic Coast Airlines (Independence Air), and some were owned by Comair. Chautauqua eventually phased out all of its CRJ aircraft.[3]

In early 2006, Chautauqua opened its new aircraft maintenance complex, capable of holding nine aircraft, at Louisville International Airport in Louisville, Kentucky. Maintenance is performed in Indianapolis, Columbus, Louisville, and St. Louis. The ERJ-135/140/145 heavy ("C-check") maintenance is performed in Columbus.[4]

In April 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed a US$348,000 fine against Chautauqua Airlines for allegedly not performing required inspections for three years.[5] The FAA alleged that the airline flew an Embraer 145 jet for 43 days past the time one of its inertial navigation units should have been replaced.

Wind down

In October 2012, Republic Airways Holdings reworked a deal with partner Delta Air Lines, part of the company's broader effort to trim costs and boost revenue amid a decline in demand for regional airline service, to operate seven additional 50-seat Embraer 145 planes under the Delta Connection brand.[6]

In the spring of 2014, Republic Airways Holdings announced that it would begin to pull down much of Chautauqua's flying. Specifically, it would not renew its contract with United Airlines to fly ERJ-145s out of Cleveland and that it would ground all 14 ERJ-145s on April 1 in response to a shortage of qualified pilots. This was shortly followed by an announcement that it would also not seek renewal of its AmericanConnection contract. Chautauqua's operation as AmericanConnection ended on August 18, 2014.

On July 28, 2014, Republic Airways Holdings announced that Chautauqua Airlines will be absorbed into Shuttle America "by year-end" to reduce costs. Chautauqua's only remaining aircraft, 41 ERJ-145s, will be transferred to the Shuttle America operating certificate,[7] effectively abandoning Chautauqua's operating certificate. On December 31, 2014 Chautauqua operated its last flight for Delta Connection. All crew and maintenance bases were absorbed by the Shuttle America certificate.


Year Organization Award
Air Transport World (ATW) Industry Achievement AwardsRegional Airline of the Year [8]
Regional Airline WorldRegional Airline of the Year[9]
Regional Airline WorldAirline Executive of the Year (President & CEO Bryan Bedford)[9]
Flight InternationalAviation Excellence Award [10]
Air Transport World (ATW) Industry Achievement AwardsRegional Airline of the Year [8]


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