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, the company was purchased by Chautauqua Airlines’ (RP) owner, Wexford Holdings LLC. A codeshare agreement was then signed with US Airways (US) and operations under the ‘US Airways Express’ branding commenced.
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, the carrier was purchased by Republic Holdings. 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.
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, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19137820