Colgan Air

Colgan Air
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1965 (as Colgan Airways)
Commenced operations December 1, 1991
Ceased operations September 5, 2012

As United Express:

Frequent-flyer program OnePass
Mileage Plus
Fleet size 19
Destinations 22
Parent company Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
Headquarters Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Key people John Spanjers (senior vice-president)
Charles Colgan (founder / former CEO)

Colgan Air was an American certificated regional airline subsidiary of Pinnacle Airlines Corp. The headquarters of Colgan Air were located in Memphis, Tennessee.

Colgan Air's major hubs were in Newark and Washington (Dulles). It was operating for United Express when it became defunct. Pinnacle Airlines Corporation phased out the Colgan Air name on September 5, 2012, and transferred operations to other subsidiaries.


Charles J. Colgan founded [1] fixed-base operator Colgan Airways Corporation at Manassas Airport in 1965. It began scheduled service under contract with IBM in 1970 between Manassas, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., and Dutchess County Airport near Poughkeepsie, New York. It expanded over the next decade and a half and was sold in 1986 to Presidential Airways.

After Presidential went defunct in 1989, Colgan and his son, Michael J., restarted service under the name National Capital on a Washington-Dulles to Binghamton, NY route on December 1, 1991. Service was provided with Beechcraft 1900C equipment. This route was later dropped and the name Colgan Air adopted. On July 1, 1997 Colgan became a feeder for Continental Airlines, operating under the name Continental Connection.

On December 11, 1999, Colgan left the Continental system and became exclusively a US Airways Express carrier, focusing its routes around major US Airways stations such as LaGuardia, Pittsburgh, and Boston. However, in 2005 Colgan acquired additional Saab 340 aircraft and resumed service as Continental Connection out of Houston.

On October 4, 2005, Colgan Air started providing flights for United Express flights out of Washington's Dulles International Airport. Initially serving Charleston, West Virginia, and Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, Colgan expanded its United Express service to include State College, Pennsylvania; Charlottesville, Virginia; Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Binghamton, New York.

Colgan Air was acquired by Pinnacle Airlines Corporation on January 18, 2007, for US$20 million. Under the terms of the purchase, Colgan's regional aircraft fleet continued to operate independently of Pinnacle Airlines Corporation's major subsidiary, Pinnacle Airlines, whose all regional jet fleet continued to fly and operate in the livery of Northwest Airlink. It was a strategic move by Pinnacle to get access to Colgan’s partners, Continental Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.[2]

Colgan Air began providing service out of Newark Liberty International Airport (as Continental Connection) starting in early 2008.

Colgan's headquarters moved from Manassas, VA to Pinnacle's headquarters in Memphis, TN in December 2009.

In July 2010, Pinnacle Airlines Corporation announced that the Colgan Air name would be phased out and all Pinnacle Airlines Corporation propeller flights would be operated by Mesaba Airlines. Colgan operated for two more years before winding down operations in 2012.

On May 15, 2012, Colgan Air ceased flying for US Airways Express.On June 5, flying in and out of the Houston (IAH) hub for United Express ceased. Colgan had previously operated as Continental Connection from IAH with Saab 340 aircraft prior to Continental-United merger. On July 31, Colgan Air phased out operations to Saab 340 fleet.

The last revenue flight, Colgan Air doing business as United Express Flight 3923 from Washington-Dulles to Albany, NY, was on September 5.

The remaining Q400s on order were delivered to Republic Airlines. The Q400s were phased out of service between September 2014 and September 2016.

Pilot Group

In December, 2008, the pilots of Colgan Air voted overwhelmingly to become members of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). The U.S. National Mediation Board (NMB), which oversees union representation elections, announced that 313 of 449 eligible pilots voted in support of representation by ALPA, well above the threshold required for certification. Prior to the election, the Colgan pilots were unrepresented by a union. The drive for representation began in 2007 when an organizing committee was formed by a group of pilots at Colgan Air. The organizing committee hoped that union organization would help improve on the poor working conditions that the pilots of Colgan Air had to endure. This feeling was shared by the Colgan Air pilot group, which voted 70% in favor of unionizing.

In 2010, the pilots of Colgan Air began negotiations for a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA). Joining and participating with the Colgan pilots in these negotiations were their ALPA counterparts at Pinnacle and Mesaba Airlines. Because the three airlines were owned by the same holding company (Pinnacle Corp) the elected ALPA pilot-representatives strongly felt a joint contract, shared by the three airlines, was the only way to prevent a labor whipsaw by management.

On February 17, 2011, the pilots ratified the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement after an agreement was reached with Pinnacle Corp management. This JCBA was a momentous event in the history of Colgan Air's pilots. It marked an end to working under ever changing, sub par working conditions and the fear that a pilot could be terminated without just cause. The JCBA provided provisions which would increase safety at the airline by providing for clear language that pertained to combating pilot fatigue and revamping the training process for pilots. The JCBA also provided new wage and work rules which would ensure that Colgan pilots would be paid and treated comparably to their counterparts at other regional airlines.


As United Express




Colgan Air fleet[3]
Aircraft Total Passengers Notes
Bombardier Q400 14 74 all economy
71 in first class configuration
All operated as United Express, operated as Continental Connection from 2008 until 2012
Saab 340B 5 35 all economy
Total 19

All aircraft were operated under Colgan Air's operating certificate.

Q400 Aircraft were scheduled for interior configuration changes to install first class. Saab 340 aircraft are also operated.


The headquarters of Colgan Air were located in Memphis, Tennessee.[4] The headquarters were formerly on the grounds of the Manassas Regional Airport in Manassas, Virginia.[5][6][7] On Tuesday June 28, 2005, the Prince William County, Virginia Board of County Supervisors voted to sell 10 acres (4.0 ha) of land in the Innovation@Prince William business park in Prince William County to Colgan. Colgan Air planned to build a 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) corporate headquarters and training facility in the business park for $1.7 million (including equipment costs) and move its headquarters from its airport site. Colgan planned to move its administrative and training employees from the headquarters site and other sites in Manassas and Prince William County to the new complex. The company also planned to hire around 90 additional employees as part of the process.[7]

After Pinnacle Airlines Corp. bought Colgan Air in 2007 and made Colgan Air its subsidiary, Pinnacle agreed to keep Colgan's headquarters in Manassas as long as, in the company's words, "it continues to make operational and financial sense for the organization."[6] In 2009 the Colgan Air announced that it was moving its headquarters to Memphis to be in proximity to the offices of Pinnacle Airlines, Colgan Air's parent company. 50 employees were scheduled to transfer to Memphis to work in crew scheduling, dispatch, training, flight operations, and other administrative tasks. While 45 other employees were asked to move to Memphis, they declined so they could stay in the Manassas area.[8] In September 2009 the human resources department was scheduled to stay in Manassas.[6] In October 2009 Pinnacle Airlines Corp. tried to get additional incentives from the State of Tennessee as the Colgan headquarters were about to move.[9] During that month Colgan announced that 20 employees would remain in Manassas to man the two hangars at Manassas Regional Airport. 100 jobs in Manassas were lost as part of the headquarters move.[8] Helaine Becker, a transportation analyst employed by Jesup & Lamont Securities Corp, believes that the moving of Colgan will help reduce costs; she said that the company did not need two corporate headquarters and that "I think it has more to do with that than anything else."[6]

In 2010 Pinnacle Airlines Corp. considered moving its headquarters to Downtown Memphis and to Olive Branch, Mississippi, and the airline also considered keeping the headquarters in its current location. Pinnacle selected Downtown Memphis, and on October 8, 2010, the airline held a celebration for its decision to move into One Commerce Square in Downtown Memphis. The Center City Commission, the City of Memphis, and Shelby County gave out $10 million in incentives, including free parking, to convince Pinnacle to move to Downtown Memphis.[10]

Accidents and incidents


  1. Streng, Aileen (February 13, 2009). "Colgan rushes to Manassas after N.Y. plane crash". Archived from the original on July 3, 2012.
  2. Flight International, 23–29 January 2007
  3. Colgan Air fleet at Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  4. "Contact." Colgan Air. Retrieved on February 28, 2010.
  5. "Employment." Colgan Air. July 3, 2001. Retrieved on February 28, 2010.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Plumb, Tierney. "Colgan Air leaving Manassas." Washington Business Journal. Wednesday September 30, 2009. Retrieved on February 28, 2010.
  7. 1 2 "Business Notes." The Washington Post. June 30, 2005. Prince William Extra, Start Page T:10. Retrieved on February 27, 2010. "The Board of County Supervisors voted Tuesday to sell the Manassas-based regional airline 10 acres (40,000 m2) at the business park for $1.7 million. Company officials plan to build a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) corporate headquarters and training facility, valued at $1.7 million, including equipment, inside Innovation@Prince William. Colgan Air's administrative and training employees will relocate from the company's airport office and other sites cross Manassas and Prince William County and about 90 more employees will be hired, said Michael J. Colgan, president of Colgan Air."
  8. 1 2 "In Brief: Colgan Air to Move Headquarters Out of Manassas, Costing 100 Jobs." Washington Post. Sunday October 4, 2009. Retrieved on February 29, 2010.
  9. Ashby, Andy. "Pinnacle seeking new incentives for Colgan move." Memphis Business Journal. Friday October 9, 2009. Retrieved on February 28, 2010. 1.
  10. Risher, Wayne. "Pinnacle's decision to move Downtown lifts hopes for other development." The Commercial Appeal. October 8, 2010. Retrieved on October 8, 2010.
  11. "UPDATE ON NTSB INVESTIGATIONS INTO RECENT BEECH 1900D ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS." National Transportation Safety Board. November 21, 2003. Retrieved on February 13, 2009.
  12. FOXnews, "Commuter Plane Crashes Into Buffalo-Area Home; 50 Killed", Friday, February 13, 2009 (accessed 18 Feb 2009)
  13. NTSB report, "Full pdf of National Transportation Safety Board report", Retrieved on April 18, 2012.
  14. "Flight Crew Relieved From Duty Following Landing at Wrong Airport". Fox News. September 15, 2011.

Not Yarmouth, it was a flight out of Hyannis, MA (KHYA)

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