Air Wisconsin

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Air Wisconsin
Air Wisconsin Logo.jpg
Founded 1965[1]
Commenced operations August 23, 1965[1]
Hubs As US Airways Express:
Philadelphia International Airport
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Frequent-flyer program Dividend Miles (US Airways Express)
Airport lounge US Airways Club (US Airways Express)
Alliance Oneworld (US Airways Express)
Fleet size 71
Destinations 69
Parent company CJT Holdings[1]
Headquarters Appleton, Wisconsin
Key people Jim Rankin (President)

Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation is a regional airline based at Outagamie County Regional Airport in the town of Greenville,[2] Wisconsin, United States,[3] near Appleton.[4] Air Wisconsin is the largest privately held regional airline in the United States. It operates regional jet flights as US Airways Express under contract to US Airways, serving 69 cities in the US and Canada with hubs at Philadelphia International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.[5] The airline is also a ground-handler for United Express at 17 locations and for US Airways at 3 locations.


Air Wisconsin logo used from 1965 to 1994
Swearingen Metro of Air Wisconsin departing from Chicago O'Hare in 1973
Air Wisconsin BAe 146 series 200 at Chicago O'Hare in 1987
US Airways Express Bombardier CRJ-200 operated by Air Wisconsin at Portland (Maine)
Former United Express Bombardier CRJ-200 operated by Air Wisconsin at Chicago

In 1963 investors from the Fox Cities raised $110,000 ($823199.58 according to inflation) to start a new airline.[6] The airline was established in 1965 and started operations on August 23, 1965. It was founded to connect Appleton, Wisconsin with Chicago.[citation needed] In September 1978 the airline was certified by the Civil Aeronautics Board as an air carrier. In October 1978 it had over $10 million in assets. The airline gained the nicknames "Air Willy" and "Rag Tag".[6]

In 1985 it merged with Mississippi Valley Airlines and continued to operate under the Air Wisconsin name. In 1990 it acquired Denver-based Aspen Airways and was itself bought by United Airlines a year later. In April of 1995 during the late ski season, Air Wisconsin was operating British Aerospace BAe 146 jet shuttle service as United Express on the former Aspen Airways route between Aspen, Colorado and Denver with at least fourteen daily nonstop flights in each direction.[7] Air Wisconsin pioneered the concept of codesharing as an United Express carrier and had rapidly become the nation's largest regional airline in the 1980s.

United Airlines sold Air Wisconsin to CJT Holdings in 1993. Air Wisconsin was then renamed Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation or AWAC because UAL retained the rights to the Air Wisconsin name. In February 1998 it acquired the assets of Mountain Air Express including Dornier 328 turboprop aircraft and expanded operations in the west.[5] It flew as a feeder for AirTran Airways under the name AirTran JetConnect, but this relationship was discontinued in July 2004. Even after significant concessionary givebacks by all unions, Air Wisconsin was unable to secure a long-term deal providing service for United Airlines. United ended its contract with AWAC in April 2005, and the last flight under the United code operated on April 16, 2006. At one point, Air Wisconsin operated British Aerospace (BAe) ATP turboprop aircraft as well as BAe 146-100, BAe 146-200 and BAe 146-300 jet aircraft on United Express services. These were all large aircraft types when compared to other regional aircraft in operation at the time. Air Wisconsin was the only U.S. operator of the BAe ATP turboprop and also the BAe 146-300, which is the largest member of the BAe 146 family of jet aircraft.

The company invested $175 Million into US Airways in order to secure a partnership operating as US Airways Express. However, AWAC has recently been unable to acquire any additional US Airways Express routes. AWAC now flies exclusively as US Airways Express from its flight crew bases in Philadelphia, New York LaGuardia, Washington DC Reagan National and Norfollk, VA. Air Wisconsin handles ground operations for United Express and for US Airways Express. It employed 2,294 staff as of March 2007.[5]


Crew domiciles[edit]

Air Wisconsin pilots and flight attendants share crew domiciles at the following locations:


The Air Wisconsin fleet includes the following aircraft as of September 2014:[8][9]

Air Wisconsin Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers Operated For
Canadair CRJ-200LR 71 50 US Airways Express

Historical fleet[edit]

Aircraft maintenance[edit]

Air Wisconsin performs CRJ maintenance activities at the following locations:

Air Wisconsin also contracts aircraft maintenance heavy checks at a facility in Hot Spring, Arkansas (HOT).

For larger airworthiness issues, Air Wisconsin contracts with Bombardier Aerospace in Clarksburg, WV (CKB).

Past Heavy Check maintenance conducted in Montreal, Canada.

Air Wisconsin's primary aircraft painting facility is located in Greenville, MS (GLH).

Incidents and accidents[edit]

Air Wisconsin incidents and accidents
Flight Date Aircraft Routing Location Description Injuries Probable Cause
Flight 671 June 29, 1972 DHC-6 Chicago, IL-
Sheboygan, WI-
Appleton, WI
near Appleton, WI While approaching Outagamie County Regional Airport, Flight 671 was involved in a midair collision over Lake Winnebago with North Central Airlines Flight 290 (Green Bay-Oshkosh-Milwaukee-Chicago; both planes crashed into the lake and sank 13 fatal
(8 on Flight 671)
(5 on Flight 290)
Pilots of both flights failed to see and avoid the others' aircraft [10]
Flight 965
June 12, 1980 Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner Appleton, WI-
Minneapolis, MN-
Lincoln, NE
near Valley, NE The aircraft suffered a multiple engine failure after entering a thunderstorm. The amount of water ingested into the engine caused a power interruption and a loss of control; plane hit the ground nose-down and right wing-down; plane skidded and ended inverted 13 fatal,
2 serious
Improper in-flight decisions by captain, complete failure of 2 engines [11]
Flight 3758
December 16, 2007 CRJ 200 Philadelphia, PA-
Providence, RI
T. F. Green Airport Miscommunication between the first officer and captain resulted in the first officer idling the engines on final approach. Soon a 2000ft rate of descent developed, the captain attempted to salvage the landing and stalled the aircraft. The aircraft touched down at a 9 degree bank, collapsed the landing gear and the aircraft skidded to a halt left of the runway. 0 injuries The captain’s attempt to salvage the landing from an instrument approach which exceeded stabilized approach criteria, resulting in a high sink rate, likely stall, and hard landing which exceeded the structural limitations of the airplane [12]


  1. ^ a b c Norwood, Tom; Wegg (2002). North American Airlines Handbook. John (3rd ed.). Sandpoint, ID: Airways International. p. 5. ISBN 0-9653993-8-9. 
  2. ^ "Zoning Map." Town of Greenville. June 17, 2009. Retrieved on June 17, 2009.
  3. ^ "Contact Air Wisconsin." Air Wisconsin. Retrieved on May 19, 2009.
  4. ^ Mader, Becca. "Appleton's Air Wisconsin cuts costs to remain competitive." The Business Journal of Milwaukee. May 17, 2004. Retrieved on May 19, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-03-27. p. 69. 
  6. ^ a b "Air Wisconsin: Commuter Success Story." Flight International. October 21, 1978. p. 1464.
  7. ^ April 2, 1995 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Denver flight schedules
  8. ^ Air Wisconsin fleet at Retrieved 2013-12-29
  9. ^ Air Wisconsin Airlines Company Overview, accessed on 2013-08-01
  10. ^ "Aircraft Accident Report North Central Airlines, Inc. Allison Convair 340/440ICV-580, N90858 and Air ,Wisconsin Inc., DHC-6, N4043B near Appleton, Wisconsin June 29, 1972". National Transportation Safety Board. 1973-04-25. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  11. ^ "Aircraft Accident Report Air Wisconsin Inc. Swearingen SA-226 Metro N650S Valley, Nebraska June 12, 1980". National Transportation Safety Board. 1980-12-09. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  12. ^ "Aircraft Accident Report Air Wisconsin Airlines. Bombardier CL600-2B19, Providence, RI December 16, 2007". National Transportation Safety Board. 

External links[edit]