WestAir Commuter Airlines
WestAir Commuter Airlines, also known as WestAir Airlines(IATA:OE,VB/ICAO WCA,SDU), was a United States airline formed when Stol Air Commuter changed its name in 1978. One of the founders was Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., who later acquired Allegiant Air. Late in its life it was known as United Express Airline. It was headquartered in Fresno, California. WestAir was sold to Mesa Air Group in 1992.
WestAir operated a diverse fleet during its history, including such turboprop aircraft as the Shorts SD-360 and SD-330, Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirantes, British Aerospace BAe Jetstream 31, Embraer 120s and de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter. The airline had previously operated Britten-Norman BN-2 Islanders and BN-2A Trislanders when it was known as Stol Air Commuter and was based in San Rafael, CA with administrative offices in Santa Rosa, CA before the name change to WestAir.
Upon becoming WestAir in 1979, the WestAir Group also bought Redding, California-based Golden Eagle Airlines, thereafter WestAir began to operate that carriers former Cessna 402 twin prop aircraft. WestAir had three different call signs over the years, first was "Wescom". This lasted until the operation was briefly expanded to the eastern US, where Air Wisconsin used the call sign "Wisconsin" and was frequently confused with "Wescom". This forced a call sign change to "Shasta", but that only lasted a short period of time because it was frequently confused with "Cessna". Finally, "Sundance" became the call sign until going out of business. They did however change the IATA code from VB to OE during the latter part of the 1980s. The SDU ICAO code was retained throughout their history. WestAir had hoped to acquire several regional jets, although no particular model had been specifically selected until 1987, when it placed an order for several British Aerospace BAe 146-200 jets to be delivered starting in 1988. WestAir became part of the Mesa Air Group in May 1992. Shortly afterwards, WestAir's handful of British Aerospace Bae 146 jet aircraft were disposed of in an attempt to dig the airline out of an economic hole. However, United Airlines then canceled its United Express contract with the carrier, and in 1998 SkyWest Airlines replaced Westair as United's west coast regional United Express air carrier.
At the time of its demise, WestAir operated a large fleet of Embraer EMB-120 and BAe Jetstream J31 propjets primarily from hubs in Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO). The majority of the Jetstream fleet ended up being stored in Kingman, Arizona, where most remain today. The Brasilias, however, became part of Utah-based SkyWest, and most of these are still flying with them to this day although SkyWest has now announced that it will retire all of its Brasilia turboprops in 2015