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CO Express History?  
User currently offlineSflaflight From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 1183 posts, RR: 1
Posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2299 times:

I've been searching the threads for info on the airlines that were merged to form today's CO Express (Not Co Connection, just Express) and can't seem to fond anything? Can anyone help with the history of CO Express? How does Express Jet come about? I was able to find on the photo search, Bar harbour Airlines and PBA (?) as a CO Express. I thought they were in a relationship with Eastern. Also, do they have a separate IATA 2 letter code (like American Eagle - MQ). I found RU on the net. Is that good?

I saw on Airchives.com that Royale Airlines and Pioneer at some point were commuter airlines for CO. Are they part of the history of Express Jet?

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCOFreqFlyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 397 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2277 times:

COEX are operating under the Britt Airways (BTA) certificate, callsign "Jet Link". You might try some digging under that name.


The Proud Bird with the Golden Tail
User currently offlineNyskymasters From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2268 times:

COEX was formed by combining Britt Airways, Rocky Mountain Airways and PBA Airlines under the Britt Air certificate. (Thus the reason why COEX's ICAO identifier is BTA.) Bar Harbor Airlines was another airline that was added shortly thereafter.

The name Express Jet came from the fact "Express Jet" was a name that was added to the engine nacelles on the ERJ's when they were delivered. When COEX was being spun off from Continental Airlines (on paper) the official name of COEX became Express Jet Airlines.

Royale and Pioneer were feeders for Continental before they formed Continental Express. Interestingly, Pioneer almost became one of the founding airlines of Continental Express. Unfortunately, the negotiations for that broke down in May of 1986 and Pioneer went out of business.


User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2227 times:

go to the co website and there is a link to Express Jet in there that gives a good history if my mind hasn't totally left me today.


Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineCody From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1932 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2227 times:

I will add a little more to the confusion. Britt was actually purchased by PEOPLExpress. No one understands why as Britt was a fairly large regional that fed STL and Chicago. Well, PEOPLExpress only had a small presence at those cities. After Texas Air bought PEOPLExpress and folded it into Continental, I can only assume that Britt came along with the deal and thus became a Continental Express carrier. Britt never flew as PEOPLExpress Connection or anything like that. The two operated totally separate of each other.

I recently found another interesting fact. I met a Continental 757 First Officer who told me he started out flying for Rocky Mountain Airways and never quit, yet ended up on the mainline Continental seniority list. This was decided by an arbitrator.

Bar Harbor and PBA were Eastern Express carriers, but after Texas Air bought Eastern, the whole group (PBA, PEOPLExpress, Frontier assets, Britt, Continental, New York Air and a few others) became one big happy family. I believe Eastern and Continental both used PBA and Bar Harbor as Express carriers at the same time, but perhaps someone could confirm this.

Hopefully I was able to add a few pieces to your research puzzle.


User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2223 times:

Even more confusion, I remember Britt Air flying in Housotn as a CO Express carrier for a very short time during the Rocky Mtn time frame from Houston but I don't think it was more than a few months.


Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineChrisjake From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 868 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2151 times:

not sure if this will help or not, but i remember when CO was just starting to establish CLE as a domestic hub, they had Britt Air as their express carrier. Britt was listed in flight guides as COExpress flights, but they flew their Metroliners in full Britt Air colors.


chris



Well nothing's dead down here, just a little tired
User currently offlineOptionsCLE From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 467 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2115 times:

Quoting Sflaflight (Thread starter):
I found RU on the net. Is that good?

RU is, indeed, the IATA code for Express Jet Airlines.

I'm not sure if TCI Skyking shares this code (I didn't think that was possible, but airlinecodes.co.uk has the same info) or whether the two sites just have bad data.


User currently offlineSflaflight From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 1183 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 1990 times:

This really helps. Thanks for all your input. What a mix up, though. No wonder I had a hard time putting the pieces together. Britt Air was the missing link.

Quoting Cody (Reply 4):
No one understands why as Britt was a fairly large regional that fed STL and Chicago.

No Kidding, just found some old timetables on the net. What a network. Anyone know if Britt actually fed PeoplExpress, or did they feed for other airlines at STL (TW maybe) and CHI, or were they independent? Darn, I'm hungry now! I would think the big guys at AA or UA would have picked them up as commuter.

Quoting Cody (Reply 4):
I recently found another interesting fact. I met a Continental 757 First Officer who told me he started out flying for Rocky Mountain Airways and never quit, yet ended up on the mainline Continental seniority list. This was decided by an arbitrator.

That's cool! Probably would be a different story today!

Again, thanks for input. Happy Holidays,  santahat 

Adrian


User currently offlineCody From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1932 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1924 times:

Quoting Sflaflight (Reply 8):
Anyone know if Britt actually fed PeoplExpress, or did they feed for other airlines at STL (TW maybe) and CHI, or were they independent?

Before you read this, I am going to make a disclaimer. What I am about to type is from memory and is going to be rusty, but maybe it will help you a little more along the way. Use it only as a general guide.

Britt Airways was a pretty old company started by a gentleman named Bill Britt. I have no idea if he is still around and I am not aware of the company's actual start-date. If memory serves me correctly, Britt was part of the Allegheny Commuter System for a few years and did operate as a totally independent airline for a time as well.

In 1986, PEOPLExpress bought Britt and Provincetown-Boston Airlines (PBA). At the time, PBA was operating under the Eastern Express banner. PBA flights actually fed into the PEOPLExpress system by connecting places like Key West, Naples, and New Bedford through other PEOPLExpress cities such as Miami and Boston. This is reflected in the last PEOPLExpress timetable. I can only assume Britt was used in the same way; connect places like Muncie and South Bend to PEOPLExpress in ORD. Personally, this seems like a strange way of feeding and it wouldn't surprise me if Britt and PBA were purchased simply because of the ego-driven "let's buy everything mentality" of the 1980's.

Continental merged with PEOPLExpress in early 1987 and the two commuter carriers were brought into the Texas Air umbrella as Continental Express. At that point, PBA fed Continental in EWR and Britt fed Continental in IAH, CLE, and ORD. Rocky Mountain, Air New Orleans, and Colgan Airways (From New York Air Connection) were also Continental Express carriers at the time. Later that year, Presidential Airways, using 737's and BAe 146's, became a Continental Express carrier as well. After Continental closed their Dulles hub, Presidential went back to being an independent carrier and took Colgan (a wholly-owned Presidential subsidiary) with it.

Later on in 1987, Bar Harbor Airlines took over PBA and Texas Air bought 50 percent of Bar Harbor. This may seem strange, since PBA was already owned by Texas Air, and I don't know the details. Perhaps an exhausting "Wall Street Journal" archive search will lend a hand, but I think I recall something about PBA's FAA license being revoked and Bar Harbor was buying the assets. Again, don't quote me on this.

In 1990, Continental Airlines and its subsidiaries filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection. At that point, Britt went into bankruptcy as well. This is where things get fuzzy, but I think some of the Continental Express carriers were mixed together during the bankruptcy process and emerged as simply Continental Express, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Continental Airlines. A few years ago, Continental Airlines made a Public Offering for Continental Express and the company sold stock under the name of ExpressJet.

I think the answer to your original question, "How did Express Jet come about?" can be found in the Continental Airlines Chapter 11 documents filed in 1990.


User currently offlineFlyHoss From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1879 times:

Quoting Nyskymasters (Reply 2):
COEX was formed by combining Britt Airways, Rocky Mountain Airways and PBA Airlines under the Britt Air certificate.

That's not quite correct. PBA and Britt came to CO when CO bought People Express. CO then sold PBA to Bar Harbor (BHA), in exchange for 59% ownership of BHA (the remaining 41% of BHA went with Eastern). Those entities merged to become Continental Express.

Quoting Nyskymasters (Reply 2):
Pioneer almost became one of the founding airlines of Continental Express. Unfortunately, the negotiations for that broke down in May of 1986 and Pioneer went out of business.

Thanks for the interesting tidbit. Pioneer was indeed the "Continental Commuter" in DEN. Once TEXAS AIR (not CO) bought Rocky Mountain Airways, the management at Pioneer could see what was about to happen and ceased operations. CO was forced to quickly wet-lease Trans-Colorado to replace the now MIA Pioneer Metroliners (TCA used some of the very same ex-Pioneer airplanes). Those Metroliners were later replaced by RMA BE-1900s.

Quoting Cody (Reply 4):
I met a Continental 757 First Officer who told me he started out flying for Rocky Mountain Airways and never quit, yet ended up on the mainline Continental seniority list. This was decided by an arbitrator

That's incorrect, it was not due to an arbitrator's decision. Before (and then again after) the merger of the commuter carriers, the commuter pilots had an opportunity to interview with CO - sort of a "farm team" concept. A three page letter of agreement between CO and the CO Pilot Ops Group (pre-union) was added to the Pilot Employment Policy. That letter was later further expanded and become part of the PEP. After several evolutions, it was eventually referred to as the "Flow-Through Agreement" that recently terminated. It's prime feature was to allow Express pilots to move "up" to CO and to give CO pilots a place to move into in the event of furloughs at CO.



A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
User currently offlineSflaflight From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 1183 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1753 times:

As the original starter of the thread, just wanted to thank everyone for their input. It is really difficult to find information on commuter airlines as the big guys they work with (or are taken over by) generally take all the credit. Through digging and reading past threads, I was able to figure most out, but CO EX was not that easy. But as I can see, it's rather complicated. But, it really is beginning to make sense now and all fall into place.

Quoting Cody (Reply 9):
I can only assume Britt was used in the same way; connect places like Muncie and South Bend to PEOPLExpress in ORD. Personally, this seems like a strange way of feeding and it wouldn't surprise me if Britt and PBA were purchased simply because of the ego-driven "let's buy everything mentality" of the 1980's.

Was ORD ever a continental hub?
Agree. Generally not what you expect. Too young to remember dereg, born in 1975, but I guess deregulation had everybody wanting to be everywhere, anyway, anyhow!

Quoting Cody (Reply 9):
I think the answer to your original question, "How did Express Jet come about?" can be found in the Continental Airlines Chapter 11 documents filed in 1990.

True, will have to find time to quickly glance that.

I would have never thought Colgan AIr would be involved in this conversation, didn't even realize they were around that long. Is it the same Colgan Air that exists today?

One last CO question, is Texas Air still the parent to all Ops like CO mainline and Mike or has TX Air been dissolved?

Gr8 work all! Thanks!


User currently offlineA330323X From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 3039 posts, RR: 44
Reply 12, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1739 times:

Quoting Sflaflight (Reply 11):
I would have never thought Colgan AIr would be involved in this conversation, didn't even realize they were around that long. Is it the same Colgan Air that exists today?

No, it's a different one, but started by the same family.

http://www.colganair.com/history.htm



I'm the expert on here on two things, neither of which I care about much anymore.
User currently offlineVegasplanes From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 778 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1710 times:

Quoting Sflaflight (Reply 11):
One last CO question, is Texas Air still the parent to all Ops like CO mainline and Mike or has TX Air been dissolved?

Gr8 work all! Thanks!

Texas Air was dissolved in BK part deux, CO emerged as CO, no more Texas Air.


User currently offlineCody From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1932 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1680 times:

Continental did NOT have a hub at ORD during the days that Britt was feeding them there. Texas Air was dissolved prior to November of 1990. After that, the holding company for Eastern and Continental became Continental Holdings. I don't know what the holding company is named today.

Colgan "Airways" began in the late 1960's. Like many other commuters of the time, it operated independently up until the 1980's when it became "New York Air Connection." Later, Presidential bought the company outright and both Presidential and Colgan became Continental Express. Presidential eventually went bankrupt and Colgan went with it.

The present-day Colgan "Air" began sometime in the early 1990's.


User currently offlineTjwgrr From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 2432 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (8 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1607 times:

A couple of Britt a/c:


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Photo © Frank Schaefer
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Photo © Eduard Marmet




Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
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