Ceased operations September 5, 2012
As United Express:
Washington Dulles International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport
Fleet size 19
Parent company Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
Headquarters Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Key people John Spanjers (senior vice-president)
Charles Colgan (founder / former CEO)
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.
Colgan Air building in Manassas, Virginia, USA
Charles J. Colgan founded 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.
Saab 340B in Colgan Air livery
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, WV and Westchester County Airport in White Plains, NY, Colgan expanded its United Express service to include State College, PA, Charlottesville, VA, Allentown, PA, and Binghamton, NY.
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.
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 January 2010, Colgan Air closed the LaGuardia crew base in response to the slot transaction at LaGuardia and Washington National Airport between US Airways and Delta Air Lines.
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:
Flying for US Airways Express ceased on May 15.
Flying out of the Houston hub for United Express ceased on June 5.
Saab 340 flying ceased on July 31.
The last revenue flight, United Express Flight 3923 from Washington-Dulles to Albany, NY, was on September 5.
The remaining Q400s on order were delivered to Republic Airlines.
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
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