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Founded 1993

Ceased Operations  2005


The airline was established in 1993 by Mike Brady of Express Airlines I in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline started operations in August 1993. Its route structure in many ways mimiced an unrelated defunct predecessor named Chicago Air which also operated from Chicago Midway's airport less than a decade before. On June 1, 1999, Chicago Express became a wholly owned subsidiary of Amtran, later known as ATA Holdings and now Global Aero Logistics, and operated as ATA Connection, a regional affiliate of the now defunct ATA Airlines. Chicago Express' principal base of operations was Chicago Midway International Airport, where the company maintained its headquarters. For several months before its liquidation, the company also operated a hub in Indianapolis, part of ATA's failed plan for intrastate flights throughout Indiana. However, following ATA Holdings' decision to codeshare flights with Southwest Airlines, a decision was made to terminate Chicago Express effective March 28, 2005, in favor of a strictly mainline operation. The airline was purchased and subsequently dissolved.

It operated regional feeder services from Chicago Midway Airport under the name ATA Connection. On June 1, 1999, ATA Airlines acquired Chicago Express for $1.9 million. Chicago Express became a wholly owned subsidiary of Amtran, later known as ATA Holdings, and now known as Global Aero Logistics, Inc. The airline had a line maintenance base at Midway Airport in Chicago, Illinois, and a hangar maintenance base at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2000, The hangar maintenance base was moved to South Bend Regional Airport in South Bend, Indiana. Chicago Express provided connecting service at ATA's hub, Chicago Midway International Airport. In 2004, ATA Airlines declared bankruptcy, and as a result, ATA terminated turboprop service (ATA Connection), and Chicago Express ceased all operations on March 28, 2005. It was purchased by CSC Investment Group based in Chicago, headed up by investment group CEO Edward Halley, on March 28, 2005.


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