11/12/1998: First Flight Airline Shuttle America

11/12/1998: First Flight Airline Shuttle America

DALLAS — Today in Aviation, a new low-cost commuter airline, Shuttle America (S5), made its maiden flight in 1998, established by CEO David Hackett. His aim was to offer high-frequency, direct flights between underserved cities on the eastern seaboard.

Operations began with a fleet of three De Havilland Dash 8-300s, painted in a smart patriotic color scheme with 50 leather seats. Its first route was from Bradley International Airport (BDL) to Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF).

In 2001, Chautauqua Airlines’ (RP) owner, Wexford Holdings LLC, purchased the company. A codeshare agreement was then signed with US Airways (US), and operations under the ‘US Airways Express’ branding commenced.

The Dash 8-300 initially formed the backbone of the airline’s fleet before being phased out in favor of the -100 and Saab 340. Photo: Tpowaleny, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Subsequently, the ‘Shuttle America’ name was phased out in favor of a full codeshare agreement with US and later United Airlines (UA). This coincided with the retirement of the Dash-8 fleet in favor of the smaller Saab 340.

In 2005, Republic Holdings purchased the carrier. The new owners set about a fleet renewal program with the introduction of its first jet aircraft, the Embraer 170. A new codeshare was also added with Delta Airlines (DL) under their ‘Delta Connection’ brand.

In an attempt to cut costs, S5 and RP were merged in 2014. However, losses continued and it was announced in February 2016 that the airline would be merged into Republic Airways (YX). S5 operated its final flight on January 30, 2017.

Embraer E170 N604RW joined the S5 fleet from RP in September 2005. It is pictured here in full United Express colors from 2007. Photo: Brian from Toronto, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Featured image: US Airways (US) became S5’s first franchise partner in 2001, feeding the mainline carrier at its Philadelphia (PHL) and Pittsburgh (PIT) hubs. Pictured is the US Airways operation in Pittsburgh following hub elimination (2007). Photo: John Marino, own work, CC0

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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