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IATA ICAO Callsign
Commenced operationsAugust 1, 1989; 31 years ago (1989-08-01)
AOC #JJBA987B[1]
HubsAs United Express:
Frequent-flyer programMileagePlus
AllianceStar Alliance (affiliate)
Fleet size130
Destinations40 +
HeadquartersNorth Olmsted, Ohio
Key peopleJohn Sullivan: Executive Chairman; Rick Hoefling: President and CEO; Joel Raymond: Chief Operating Officer; Sean Frick: CFO.
Employees1,200 +

CommutAir, operating as United Express, is an American regional airline founded in 1989, and is majority-owned by Champlain Enterprises Inc. Today, CommutAir operates more than 800 weekly flights to 30 plus destinations, with Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft, from its bases at Newark, Washington Dulles, and Houston Intercontinental.


United Express Bombardier Q200 operated by CommutAir
Facing forward in the passenger cabin of a CommutAir Beechcraft 1900D

In 1979, a commuter airline using the name Commutair operated intercity shuttle service in the Houston, Texas area between Hobby Airport (HOU) and Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and also between Sugarland Airport (SGR) and Intercontinental Airport (IAH) with de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter and Beechcraft twin turboprop aircraft.[2]

The airline was established in 1989, with headquarters at Clinton County Airport in Plattsburgh, New York. Operations began on August 1, 1989 as a marketing affiliate of USAir.[3][4]

The airline changed affiliations to Continental Airlines in December 2000, when US Airways and CommutAir failed to reach a mutually acceptable extension agreement, and thus decided not to renew the codeshare agreement. In July 2001, the company announced plans to downsize its fleet and workforce by approximately half and change the route structure of the airline. In early 2002, the company began a "micro-hub" operation based in Albany, New York. At its high point in 2003 and 2004, the hub served 21 cities within the Northeast and Canada with a fleet of Beechcraft 1900s. Service was also provided out of Boston's Logan International Airport to several Northeast cities.

In January 2003, CommutAir announced an agreement with Continental to feed the latter's Cleveland, Ohio hub. Service commenced on March 16, 2003, serving Kalamazoo, Michigan and Elmira, New York. Two cities were added the following month and by August 2003, CommutAir served 12 cities from the Cleveland hub.

CommutAir leased sixteen Bombardier Q200 aircraft from Horizon Air in 2006. The following year, the Beech 1900s were phased out.

On October 30, 2007, the company moved all remaining operations from Clinton County Airport, due to the closure of the airport. All operations were then conducted out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.[5]

On October 2, 2008, the company began operations out of Newark Liberty International Airport, following Continental Airlines plan to adjust to the softening industry.[6]

Commutair's pilot group voted for union representation by the Air Line Pilots Association in 2008.[7] That same year, Continental Airlines announced that it would cut flights and more than 3,000 jobs.[8] Subsequently, it was announced that some of CommutAir's flights would be eliminated as part of Continental's cutbacks.[9]

In 2011, United Airlines asked CommutAir to obtain five Bombardier Q300s. Two of the aircraft were allocated to Cleveland services and three aircraft were allocated to Newark services.

In 2012, CommutAir opened a hub at Washington-Dulles International Airport.

In July 2014, CommutAir closed its pilot base at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, after United Airlines withdrew its Cleveland hub.[10] CommutAir also closed its Cleveland maintenance base, and replaced it with a new maintenance base in Albany, New York.[11]

On November 9, 2015, CommutAir announced that it has reached an agreement with United Airlines to significantly increase the number of airplanes flown under the United Express brand by adding Embraer ERJ-145 jet operations to the company's existing fleet of Bombardier turbo-prop aircraft.

In July 2016, CommutAir began commercial service with its inaugural flight on the ERJ-145XR jet from Washington, DC to Columbia, SC.[12]

In September 2017, the Q300 was phased out and in January 2018, the Q200 was phased out, marking the end of turbo-prop operations.

On July 30, 2020, it was announced that United Airlines had decided to end its contract with fellow United Express affiliate ExpressJet and transferred these operations to CommutAir. CommutAir became the sole operator of the United Express Embraer ERJ-145 fleet.[13]


List of destinations[14](as of 1 June 2019)
City Country (Subdivision) IATA Airport Notes
Hartford United States (Connecticut) BDL Bradley International Airport
Jacksonville United States (Florida) JAX Jacksonville International Airport
Savannah United States (Georgia) SAV Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport
Indianapolis United States (Indiana) IND Indianapolis International Airport
South Bend United States (Indiana) SBN South Bend International Airport
Lexington United States (Kentucky) LEX Blue Grass Airport
Louisville United States (Kentucky) SDF Louisville International Airport
Bangor United States (Maine) BGR Bangor International Airport
Portland United States (Maine) PWM Portland International Jetport
Presque Isle United States (Maine) PQI Presque Isle International Airport EAS
Baltimore United States (Maryland) BWI Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport Occasional
Nantucket United States (Massachusetts) ACK Nantucket Memorial Airport Seasonal
Grand Rapids United States (Michigan) GRR Gerald R. Ford International Airport
St. Louis United States (Missouri) STL Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport
Manchester United States (New Hampshire) MHT Manchester-Boston Regional Airport
Albany United States (New York) ALB Albany International Airport
Buffalo United States (New York) BUF Buffalo Niagara International Airport
Ithaca United States (New York) ITH Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport
New York City United States (New York) LGA LaGuardia Airport
Rochester United States (New York) ROC Greater Rochester International Airport
Syracuse United States (New York) SYR Syracuse Hancock International Airport
Newark United States (New Jersey) EWR Newark Liberty International Airport Hub
Asheville United States (North Carolina) AVL Asheville Regional Airport
Fayetteville United States (North Carolina) FAY Fayetteville Regional Airport Occasional
Greensboro United States (North Carolina) GSO Piedmont Triad International Airport
Akron/Canton United States (Ohio) CAK Akron-Canton Regional Airport
Wilmington United States (North Carolina) ILM Wilmington International Airport
Cincinnati, Ohio area United States (Kentucky) CVG Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport Airport is in Kentucky
Cleveland United States (Ohio) CLE Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Headquarters
Columbus United States (Ohio) CMH John Glenn Columbus International Airport
Dayton United States (Ohio) DAY Dayton International Airport Occasional
Harrisburg United States (Pennsylvania) MDT Harrisburg International Airport
Philadelphia United States (Pennsylvania) PHL Philadelphia International Airport
State College United States (Pennsylvania) SCE University Park Airport
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton United States (Pennsylvania) AVP Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
Providence United States (Rhode Island) PVD Theodore Francis Green State Airport
Charleston United States (South Carolina) CHS Charleston International Airport
Columbia United States (South Carolina) CAE Columbia Metropolitan Airport Occasional
Greenville/Spartanburg United States (South Carolina) GSP Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport
Chattanooga United States (Tennessee) CHA Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport
Knoxville United States (Tennessee) TYS McGhee Tyson Airport
Memphis United States (Tennessee) MEM Memphis International Airport
Nashville United States (Tennessee) BNA Nashville International Airport
Burlington United States (Vermont) BTV Burlington International Airport
Charlottesville United States (Virginia) CHO Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport
Norfolk United States (Virginia) ORF Norfolk International Airport
Richmond United States (Virginia) RIC Richmond International Airport
Roanoke United States (Virginia) ROA Roanoke Regional Airport Occasional
Washington, D.C. area United States (Virginia) IAD Washington Dulles International Airport Hub (airport is in Virginia)
Washington, D.C. area United States (Virginia) DCA Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Airport is in Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia United States (West Virginia) CRW Yeager Airport Past destination
Madison United States (Wisconsin) MSN Dane County Regional Airport
Milwaukee United States (Wisconsin) MKE Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport
Toronto Canada (Ontario) YYZ Lester Pearson International Airport
Ottawa Canada (Ontario) YOW Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Occasional
Montréal Canada (Quebec) YUL Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Quebec City Canada (Quebec) YQB Québec/Jean Lesage International Airport

Crew bases

Maintenance bases


A CommutAir ERJ-145XR operating as United Express approaching Newark Liberty International Airport

As of September 2020, the CommutAir fleet includes the following aircraft:[16][17]

Aircraft Active Orders Passengers Notes
Embraer ERJ-145XR 74 1 (Transfers from ExpressJet) 50 United Express
Embraer ERJ-145LR 56 1 (Transfers from ExpressJet) 50 United Express
Total 130 2  

As of January 2020, CommutAir average fleet age was 15.2 years old.[18]

Historical fleet

The CommutAir fleet was once composed entirely of Beechcraft 1900D aircraft, operated for US Airways Express and later for Continental Connection.

CommutAir operated the final turboprop flight for United Express on Sunday, January 7, 2018.[19]

This flight, UCA4909/C54909 between Syracuse Airport and Dulles Airport was operated by tail number N363PH.[20][21] It marked the end of an era for both CommutAir and United Express. The Bombardier Q200 was subsequently ferried to Roswell International Air Center for retirement.[22][23]

Incidents and accidents

CommutAir Flight 4821

CommutAir Flight 4821, a Beechcraft 1900 operating for USAir Express was flying from Plattsburgh, New York to Newark, New Jersey, with stops in Saranac Lake and Albany in New York.[24] On January 3, 1992 the aircraft crashed into a wooded mountaintop as it was landing at Adirondack Regional Airport. Of the four people on board (two passengers and two crew), two were killed while the other two sustained serious injuries.[25] Shortly before the crash occurred, the aircraft had contacted Commutair officials on the ground at Lake Clear Airport.[26] The aircraft was new and the crew was experienced. Immediately following the accident, there was no clear cause.[27] Of the deceased, one was 23-year-old copilot Dean Montana, and one was an off-duty employee.[28]

The aircraft was not required to be equipped with a flight data recorder, therefore, a flight data recorder was not present. The cockpit voice recorder was burned to the point that the data inside was not usable. The National Transportation Safety Board used aircraft position data from air traffic control, the aircraft wreckage, survivor interviews, and weather information to find its probable cause.[24]

The cause of the crash was determined to be pilot error in establishing a stabilized approach and cross-checking instruments. Factors related to the accident were: weather conditions and possible precipitation static interference, caused by inadequate grounding between the radome and fuselage that could have resulted in unreliable glide slope indications."[25]

CommutAir Flight 4933

On March 4, 2019, United Express Flight 4933, operated by CommutAir, skidded off the runway during its second attempt at landing in Presque Isle International Airport in Presque Isle, Maine.[29] The front landing gear were torn from the plane and embedded in one of the two rear engines. Passengers and crew were evacuated from the main door, with three passengers requiring treatment for minor injuries as well as one pilot.[30]

See also


  1. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". Retrieved .
  2. ^, Nov. 15, 1979 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Houston Intercontinental schedules
  3. ^ " History". Retrieved 2009.
  4. ^ "Plattsburgh West CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2009.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Delta announces Big Sky flight schedules;, October 02, 2007".
  6. ^ "CommutAir Dodges Bullet". Regional Aviation News. June 16, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "CommutAir Pilots Vote ALPA:NMB Election Results Show Overwhelming Support for Union".
  8. ^ "Continental joins trend by cutting flights, workers".
  9. ^ "Cleveland Hopkins takes hits in Continental cuts".
  10. ^ "More jobs lost with CommutAir pulling pilot base out of Cleveland". Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ "CommutAir to Relocate its Cleveland Crew and Maintenance Base - Airways Magazine". Airways Magazine. 2014-04-29. Retrieved .
  12. ^
  13. ^ "United to drop contract with ExpressJet, dealing fatal blow". Reuters. 2020-07-30. Retrieved .
  14. ^ "Where We Fly". Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ "Last dash out of Albany; Embraer jets into service - Home Page". Retrieved .
  16. ^ "CommutAir Fleet". Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ "CommutAir Fleet Details and History". Retrieved .
  18. ^ "CommutAir Fleet Details and History". 2017-12-22. Retrieved .
  19. ^ "United Express say Farewell Dash 8". IGN Travel. Archived from the original on 2018-01-10. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ "Flight history for United Airlines flight UA4909". FlightRadar24. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ "Commutair C5 Flight 4909 07-Jan-2018 KSYR - KIAD". Flightaware. Retrieved 2018.
  22. ^ "Commutair Official Twitter Feed - @C5Recruiting". Twitter. Retrieved 2018.
  23. ^ "Flightaware - N363PH flight KOKC-KROW". Flightaware. Retrieved 2018.
  24. ^ a b "In reply refer to: A-94-74 through -76" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. March 28, 1994. Retrieved 2010.
  25. ^ a b "ASN Aircraft accident Beechcraft 1900C-1 N55000 Saranac Lake-Adirondack Airport, NY (SLK)". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2009.
  26. ^ "2 die, 2 hurt in commuter plane crash". Chicago Tribune. January 4, 1992. Retrieved 2010.
  27. ^ "2 DIE IN BAFFLING CRASH OF NEW PLANE". The Buffalo News. January 5, 1992. Retrieved 2010.
  28. ^ "2 KILLED IN PLANE CRASH". The Palm Beach Post. January 4, 1992.
  29. ^ WAGM-TV Retrieved 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. ^ "United flight lands off the runway at Presque Isle International Airport". WABI. Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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