Delta Connection
Founded1984; 40 years ago (1984)
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programSkyMiles
AllianceSkyTeam (affiliate)
Parent companyDelta Air Lines

Delta Connection is a brand name for Delta Air Lines, under which a number of individually owned regional airlines primarily operate short- and medium-haul routes. Mainline major air carriers often use regional airlines to operate services via code sharing agreements in order to increase frequencies in addition to serving routes that would not sustain larger aircraft as well as for other competitive or operational reasons.

Delta Connection flights are operated by Delta-owned Endeavor Air and contractors Republic Airways and SkyWest Airlines.


A Delta Connection Bombardier CRJ700, operated by SkyWest, landing at Vancouver in 2008
A Delta Connection CRJ100, operated by Comair, landing at Baltimore
A Delta Connection ERJ145 during winter at Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport.
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Delta Connection was founded in 1984[1] as a means of expanding the Delta network to smaller markets via partnerships with regional airlines.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) began Delta Connection service on March 1, 1984, from their hub at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and soon had a substantial presence at Delta's hub at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. ASA was a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines under the Delta Connection, Inc., holding company from May 11, 1999, to September 7, 2005, when it was purchased by SkyWest, Inc., the parent company of SkyWest Airlines.

Ransome Airlines operated Delta Connection flights in the northeast from March 1, 1984, to June 1, 1986, when it was purchased by Pan Am.

Comair began Delta Connection service on September 1, 1984. Comair primarily operated from Delta's hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport which was established the same year. Comair also began operating Delta Connection service from Delta's hub at Orlando International Airport in 1987.[2] In January 2000, Comair became a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.[1]

Rio Airways operated Delta Connection flights from their hub in Dallas/Fort Worth from June 1, 1984, to December 14, 1986, when the airline declared bankruptcy. ASA subsequently became the main Delta Connection carrier at the Dallas/Fort Worth hub.[3]

Business Express Airlines operated Delta Connection flights in the northeastern US and Canada from June 1, 1986, to March 15, 2000. The company was purchased by AMR Corporation in 1999 and integrated into the American Eagle Airlines system in 2000.

Following the acquisition of Western Airlines by Delta Air Lines, SkyWest Airlines, which had been operating codeshare service flying as Western Express for Western, became a Delta Connection carrier on April 1, 1987, primarily operating from their hub at Salt Lake City International Airport, which Delta inherited from Western.[4]

Trans States Airlines operated Delta Connection flights from March 1998 to March 31, 2000, mainly from their focus cities in Boston and New York.

In 2002, Chautauqua Airlines became a Delta Connection carrier and replaced Comair as the main provider of regional flights at the Orlando hub.[5]

On November 2, 2004, Atlantic Coast Airlines ended service as a Delta Connection Carrier. Atlantic Coast Airlines reinvented itself as a low fare carrier called Independence Air, based at Washington Dulles International Airport. Atlantic Coast Airlines operated over 30 Dornier 328JET aircraft as part of its Delta Connection service from 2000 until 2005.

On December 22, 2004, Delta Air Lines announced that Republic Airways would order and operate 16 Embraer E170 aircraft under the Delta Connection banner. Since then, it has been announced that the Republic Airways subsidiary Shuttle America would operate the flights. The initial flight took place on September 1, 2005. On May 4, 2005, Delta Air Lines announced that Mesa Air Group subsidiary Freedom Airlines would operate up to 30 Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft under the Delta Connection banner beginning in October 2005. Shortly after the announcement, the decision was made for Freedom Airlines to operate the Embraer ERJ-145 for Delta Connection instead of the CRJ. After a legal battle with Mesa Air Group, Delta and Freedom Airlines terminated their contract, ending all flights on August 31, 2010.[6] On December 21, 2006, Delta announced that Big Sky Airlines would become a Delta Connection carrier, using eight Beechcraft 1900D turboprops out of Boston Logan International Airport.[7]

On March 1, 2007, it was announced that ExpressJet would operate 10 Embraer ERJ-145XR aircraft under the Delta Connection banner beginning in June 2007 on flights from Los Angeles International Airport. It was later announced that ExpressJet would operate an additional eight aircraft as Delta Connection. On July 3, 2008, Delta and ExpressJet announced that they had terminated their agreement and that ExpressJet operations as Delta Connection would end by September 1, 2008.[8] On April 30, 2007, it was announced that Pinnacle Airlines would operate 16 Bombardier CRJ-900 under the Delta Connection banner starting in December 2007.

Merging Delta Connection and Northwest Airlink

The merger of Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines meant that Northwest's regional brand, Northwest Airlink, would be merged into Delta Connection. The new Delta Connection would include the regional airlines from both the original Delta and Northwest. On November 8, 2008, Delta and Mesaba Airlines, a fully owned regional subsidiary of Northwest Airlines that operated flights as Northwest Airlink with turboprop aircraft and also with regional jet aircraft, announced that the seven CRJ-900 aircraft previously operated by Freedom as well as eight new-order aircraft would be operated for Delta Connection beginning February 12, 2009.

Citing cost reductions, Delta Air Lines sold former Northwest Airlines regional subsidiary Mesaba Airlines on July 1, 2010, to Pinnacle Airlines Corp. for $62 million. Its headquarters were moved to Pinnacle's in Memphis on December 26, 2011. Mesaba merged its operations into Pinnacle on January 4, 2012.[9][10] The same day, Trans States Holdings purchased Compass Airlines from Delta for $20.5 million.[11] It has maintained both regional operations with the airlines as of January 1, 2012.

Delta announced that it would add in-flight WiFi to 223 Delta Connection aircraft beginning in 2011.[12]

Regional carrier GoJet Airlines, also owned by Trans States Holdings, began operations from Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport to cities in the Midwest using 15 CRJ-700 aircraft on January 11, 2012.[13]

Following a merger between Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) and ExpressJet, Delta Connection flights operated under the latter's name and ceased operations as ASA. All routes remained the same, but the flights began operating as ExpressJet beginning in 2012.[14]

On July 25, 2012, Delta announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Comair would cease all operations at midnight on September 28, 2012.

Delta Connection aircraft at LaGuardia Airport

On May 1, 2013, as a condition of exiting bankruptcy, Pinnacle Airlines became a subsidiary of Delta and was subsequently renamed Endeavor Air.[15]

On December 31, 2014, Chautauqua Airlines operated its last flight for Delta Connection. All aircraft and crew and maintenance bases would be absorbed by the Shuttle America certificate. The conclusion of this service also removed the last operating three seat wide aircraft from the Delta Connection fleet.[16]

On August 9, 2017, it was announced that Delta and ExpressJet would terminate their agreement early with all operations ended in late 2018.[17] The remaining dual-class aircraft financed by Delta would be transferred to Endeavor while ExpressJet would redistribute their financed aircraft to other flying partners. Delta cited ExpressJet's lacking operational performance and focus on trimming their 50-seat fleet as the main reason for terminating the contract early.[18]

In August 2019, Delta announced that the regional fleet would be consolidated from 5 carriers to 3, eliminating GoJet Airlines and Compass Airlines. The Delta Connection aircraft and routes would be transferred to the Delta-owned Endeavor Air and contractors Republic Airway and SkyWest Airlines.[19] Endeavor, Republic, and SkyWest would each focus on different geographic regions with SkyWest becoming the primary partner in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Seattle; and Endeavor growing in Cincinnati, Detroit, and Raleigh–Durham.[20]

In September 2020, Delta announced in an SEC filing that it planned to retire all Delta-owned CRJ200 aircraft by December 2023. [21]This was due to the uncomfortability of the aircraft, and the lack of any premium seats. The final CRJ200 flight flew on December 1 being replaced by the larger CRJ variants.[citation needed] In November 2023, Delta announced that they would add Wi-Fi to their current regional aircraft, and their mainline Boeing 717s starting from mid 2024. In May 2024, Skywest announced the conversion of 19 expired CRJ700s from American Eagle into CRJ550s that would operate under Delta. They are scheduled to fly in summer 2024.[citation needed]The CRJ200 was reintroduced to the fleet in June of 2024 as a temporary service to fill in the 50 seat market before the CRJ550s enter service.[22]

Operators and fleet

A scope clause agreement between Delta Air Lines and its mainline pilots union limits the number and size of aircraft that may be flown by Delta Connection. The current agreement allows up to 125 airplanes with 50 seats or fewer, 102 airplanes with between 51 and 70 seats, and 223 airplanes with up to 76 seats.[23]

As of April 2024, the combined Delta Connection-branded fleet consists of the following regional jet aircraft:[24]

Delta Connection fleet
Airline Aircraft In fleet Orders Passengers Notes
F Y+ Y Total
Delta Air Lines subsidiary
Endeavor Air Bombardier CRJ700 18 9 16 44 69
Bombardier CRJ900 123 12 20 44 76
Embraer 175 1 12 20 44 76
Third-party contractors
Republic Airways Embraer 170 11 9 12 48 69
Embraer 175 46 12 20 44 76
SkyWest Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 2 4 46 50 Temporary service ahead of CRJ550 operations. [22]
Bombardier CRJ550 19 10 20 20 50 [25][better source needed]
Bombardier CRJ700 9 9 16 44 69
Bombardier CRJ900 13 12 20 38 70
28 44 76
Embraer 175 85 12 20 44 76
Total 336 19

Historical regional jet fleet

The Delta Connection brand, through its various regional and commuter airline partners, operated a variety of jet aircraft over the years including the following types:

Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Replacement Notes
BAe 146-200 8 1993 1996 Bombardier CRJ100/200 Operated by Business Express Airlines[26]
Bombardier CRJ100 67 1993 2019 Bombardier CRJ700, Bombardier CRJ900 Bombardier CRJ200 Operated by Comair and SkyWest Airlines
Dornier 328JET 3 1993 1996 Bombardier CRJ100/200 Operated by Business Express Airlines
Embraer ERJ 135 3 2002 2008 Embraer ERJ 145 Operated by Chautauqua Airlines
Embraer ERJ 145 41 2005 2018 Bombardier CRJ700, Bombardier CRJ900, Embraer 170, Embraer 175 Operated by Chautauqua Airlines, Express Airlines, Freedom Airlines, and Shuttle America

Historical turboprop fleet

The Delta Connection brand, through its various regional and commuter airline partners, operated a variety of twin turboprop aircraft over the years including the following types:

Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Replacement Notes
ATR 72 19 1993 2008 Bombardier CRJ100/200,Bombardier CRJ700 series Operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines
BAe Jetstream 41 4 2000 2002 None Operated by Trans States Airlines
Beechcraft 1900 8 2006 2008 None Operated by Big Sky Airlines
De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 5 1986 1986 None Operated by Business Express Airlines
de Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 11 2006 2007 None Operated by Freedom Airlines
Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia 101 1991 2015 Bombardier CRJ100/200 Operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines until 2003. Operated under codeshare with SkyWest Airlines until 2015, and never wore Delta Connection livery,
Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner 35 1987 1996 Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia Operated by SkyWest Airlines
Saab 340 92 1986 2011 Bombardier CRJ100/200 Initially operated by Business Express Airlines until 2001. Former Northwest Airlink fleet acquired in 2008, which were operated by Mesaba Airlines.


Delta Connection Academy was an airline flight school established in October 1989. The academy was located in Sanford, Florida, on the grounds of the Orlando Sanford International Airport. It contained a fleet that had 73 aircraft and over 550 flight students who attended the academy. On January 13, 2010, it was acquired by Flight Training Acquisitions for $50 million.[27] Today, it operates as L3Harris Flight Academy.

Incidents and accidents


  1. ^ a b "Delta to Close Regional Carrier Comair in September". The New York. July 27, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  2. ^ "Comair". Sunshine Skies.
  3. ^, December 15, 1989, Official Airline Guide (OAG), Dallas/Fort Worth flight schdedules
  4. ^, March 1, 1987, Western Airlines system timetable & Western Express route map; April 3, 1988, SkyWest/Delta Connection route map
  5. ^ "Comair closing Orlando hub". Atlanta Business Chronicle. June 11, 2002. Archived from the original on November 23, 2002. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  6. ^ Snyder, Brett (May 19, 2010). "Mesa Air Group Loses Battle with Delta, and US Airways Must be Smiling". CBS News. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  7. ^ "Delta to Connect Northeast Business Centers with Significant Boston Expansion" (Press release). Boston: Delta News Hub. December 21, 2006. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  8. ^ Rigby, Bill (July 3, 2008). "Delta, ExpressJet ditch regional pact". Reuters. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012. Retrieved July 3, 2008.
  9. ^ "Mesaba to close Eagan headquarters, cut 193 jobs". Inforum. October 22, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  10. ^ Risher, Wayne (October 24, 2011). "Pinnacle Airlines to move Mesaba headquarters to Memphis, cutting 200 jobs in Minnesota". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  11. ^ "Delta to sell Mesaba and Compass for $82.5 million". July 1, 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  12. ^ [1] Archived December 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Delta Eyes January Launch For New GoJet CRJ700 Operations". Aviation Week. October 24, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  14. ^ "Atlantic Southeast Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines Gain Final FAA Approval to Operate as One". MarketWire. November 18, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  15. ^ "Pinnacle Airlines now a Delta subsidiary". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. May 1, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  16. ^ "Chautauqua Airlines ends operations". ch-aviation. January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  17. ^ "ExpressJet to end run as Delta Connection carrier". myajc. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  18. ^ "ExpressJet to End Delta Connection Flights - Airways Magazine". Airways Magazine. August 10, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  19. ^ "Delta Retools Its Regional Network -- and More Changes Are Coming". August 13, 2019. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  20. ^ "GoJet and Compass Dropped As Delta Connection Airlines". Pilot Job Central. August 7, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  21. ^ "Retiring of the CRJ-200". September 25, 2020.
  22. ^ a b Ewing, Ryan (June 27, 2024). "CRJ-200s May Again Appear on Some Delta Routes".
  23. ^ "Are U.S. Airlines Approaching Their Next Scope Battles?". Pilot Job Central. March 25, 2019. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  24. ^ "Delta Connection". Retrieved April 4, 2024.
  25. ^ "Bombardier CRJ-550 Seat Maps, Specs & Amenities | Delta Air Lines". Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  26. ^ "Delta Connection". September 28, 2023. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  27. ^ "New company acquires Delta Connection Academy, Aerosim". AOPA Foundation. January 23, 2010. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  28. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Swearingen SA226-TC Metro II N163SW Kearns, UT". January 15, 1987. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  29. ^ "N217AS". Retrieved May 5, 2024.
  30. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-3B7 N388US Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX)". Archived from the original on September 20, 2020. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  31. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III N683AV Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX)". Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  32. ^ Aircraft Accident Report: Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Inc., Flight 2311, Uncontrolled Collision With Terrain, an Embraer EMB-120, N270AS, Brunswick, Georgia, April 5, 1991 (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. April 28, 1992. NTSB/AAR-92/03. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  33. ^ "Wounded Bird," Mayday
  34. ^ Gary M. Pomerantz. "9 Minutes 20 Seconds". Archived from the original on August 6, 2007. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  35. ^ Under 49 CFR Part 830.2, a fatal injury is one that results in death within 30 days of the accident.[2]
  36. ^ "Heroic flight attendant returns to Georgia crash site," CNN
  37. ^ "SR 407 - Robin Fech - honoring Archived 2012-08-06 at the Wayback Machine," Senate of Georgia
  38. ^ "In-Flight Loss of Propeller Blade, Forced Landing, and Collision with Terrain, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Inc., Flight 529, Embraer EMB-120RT, N256AS, Carrollton, Georgia, August 21, 1995" (PDF). August 21, 1995. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  39. ^ "Accident Description: Comair Flight 3272". January 9, 1997. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  40. ^ Hauser, Christine; Urbina, Ian (August 27, 2006). "49 Killed in Airplane Crash in Kentucky". The New York Times. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  41. ^ "Criminal Occurrence description". July 17, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  42. ^ Sperry, Todd; Ahlers, Mike M. (July 18, 2012). "Police: Suspect in Colorado slaying tried to steal plane in Utah". CNN. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  43. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Canadair CL-600-2B19 Regional Jet CRJ-200ER N865AS Saint George Municipal Airport, UT (SGU)". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved May 12, 2021.