|Founded||1985 (as Express Airlines I)|
As Delta Connection:
|Focus cities||Indianapolis International Airport|
|Airport lounge||Delta Sky Club|
|Parent company||Pinnacle Airlines Corp.|
|Headquarters||Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport
|Key people||John Spanjers (President and CEO)|
Pinnacle Airlines, Inc. (formerly Express Airlines I) is an American regional airline, which is a subsidiary of Pinnacle Airlines Corp., operates as Delta Connection for Delta Air Lines. Pinnacle Airlines Corp. emerged from chapter 11 reorganization as a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines which became official on May 1st, 2013. It is based in Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, with hubs at Memphis International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The airline was established in February 1985 as Express Airlines I with the intent of offering regional airline passenger feed to a code sharing, major airline’s hub. Express I began its first code sharing agreement with Republic Airlines in May 1985. Republic was the dominant carrier in Memphis but, in keeping with the hub-and-spoke concept, wanted to add more smaller cities and free up its larger DC-9 jets to serve longer stage-length routes. Express I was able to accomplish this by beginning service on June 1, 1985, to 3 cities using BAe Jetstream 31 aircraft. Within six months, Express Airlines I was operating in ten markets using nine Jetstream 31s and two Saab 340 aircraft.
On December 15, 1985, a second contract opened operations at a Republic Airlines home base at Minneapolis-St. Paul. By its first anniversary, Republic Express was operating 20 Jetstream 31s and seven Saab 340s in 32 markets. In Spring 1986, Northwest Airlines announced the acquisition of Republic, which was completed on October 1, 1986, following regulatory and shareholder approvals.
Over the next decade, Express I provided airline services to 56 cities in the Southeast and upper Mid-West. In 1997, Northwest Airlines elected to make changes in the structure of Express I, which was a privately held company. On April 1, 1997, Express I became a wholly owned subsidiary of Northwest Airlines. In order to consolidate the many Airlink systems operated at that time, Express I transferred flying at Minneapolis-St. Paul, allowing it to concentrate on the Memphis Hub.
In August 1997, Express I moved its corporate headquarters to Memphis, allowing all the various departments to function from its main base of operations. On 7 May 1999, Express I announced a major transition into the jet age as its parent company announced that Express would be the launch operator of the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) at Northwest. This award was for a minimum of 42 CRJs designated to operate as Northwest Jet Airlink. Delivery of the CRJs began in April 2000 and the first Northwest CRJ lifted into the sky on June 1, 2000, bound for Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP). The first CRJ (N8390A) was named "The Spirit of Memphis Belle," although it has since been repainted into Delta Connection colors, but the title "The Spirit of Memphis Belle" still remains painted on the forward part of the fuselage. Express I changed its name to Pinnacle Airlines on May 8, 2002.
Current operations 
Northwest agreed with Pinnacle on a new Air Service Agreement (ASA) on December 21, 2006. The agreement contracted Pinnacle to fly 124 CRJs until 2017. A clause within the ASA stipulates that if Pinnacle and Air Line Pilots Association did not agree on a new pilot contract by 31 March 2007, then Northwest could remove up to 17 CRJs from Pinnacle's fleet. After the deadline passed with no new pilot contract, Northwest exercised its right to remove 17 CRJs from Pinnacle, starting in September 2008 at a rate of two CRJs per month. Ironically, these 17 CRJs were removed from Pinnacle and handed over to Mesaba Airlines in 2008, which Pinnacle acquired in 2010.
Northwest had also allowed Pinnacle to seek flying from other carriers. On April 30, 2007, Pinnacle Airlines Corp. signed a 10 year contract with Delta Air Lines to be a Delta Connection carrier. The 16 Bombardier CRJ 900's began delivery in November 2007 and the deliveries were completed in May 2009. The first batch of delivered aircraft were based in Atlanta and began service in December 2007. On June 10, 2008 Pinnacle announced that Delta planned to withdraw from the contract by 31 July 2008 for failure to make its timetable. However, on July 18, 2008 Delta announced that an agreement had been reached that would allow Pinnacle to continue flying for Delta under the terms of the initial contract. The remaining 4 CRJ-900s would be delivered between January and May 2009, at which point all 15 CRJ-900s would be in service for Delta Connection.
On February 24, 2012, Pinnacle invoked a 5% permanent pay cut for all pilots – a move which CEO Sean Menke insisted was necessary to prevent the company from filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Less than a month later on March 21 of 2012 however, Menke was given a 60% pay raise from $425,000 to $675,000 along with executive vice president John Spanjers receiving a 45% raise from $275,000 to $400,000. Ten days later, Pinnacle filed for Chapter 11 on April 1, 2012.
The airline has 8,000 employees (at May 2012 – number previous its Chapter 11 restructuring).
In January 2013, Delta Air Lines reached a deal to buy Pinnacle Airlines after the Pinnacle emerged from bankruptcy protection. Later that month, Pinnacle announced plans to move its headquarters from Memphis, TN to Minneapolis, MN by May 2013.  In April 2013, Pinnacle won approval of their Chapter 11 reorganization plan that would allow them to emerge from bankruptcy as a wholly owned Delta Air Lines subsidiary and move the business to Minnesota. Pinnacle’s agreements with Delta call for it to operate 81 70-seat regional jets post-bankruptcy and eliminate 50-seat jets.
- Donald Breeding of Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
- Thomas Schreier Jr. of Nuveen Investment Funds, Inc. – Nuveen Small Cap Select Fund
- Robert Shannon of Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
- Ian Massey of GMT Global Republic Aviation Ltd.
- Alfred Spain of Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
- Susan Coughlin of Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
- Nicholas Tomassetti of Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
- Jim McGehee Jr.of Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Petition 
On 1 April 2012, Pinnacle Airlines Corp., the parent of Pinnacle Airlines Inc., along with its other subsidiaries including Colgan Air, Inc., filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The airline planned to discontinue its operation of its Saab 340 and Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft by the end of November 2012.
Pinnacle flies out of five hubs, Detroit MI, Memphis TN, Minneapolis-St. Paul MN, New York, NY (JFK) and Atlanta GA. Pinnacle currently serves over 110 cities in 39 states and Canadian provinces. It operates well over 800 flights a day.
As of April 2013, the Pinnacle Airlines fleet includes the following aircraft:
|Bombardier CRJ-200||140||—||—||50||50||All CRJ-200s to be phased out of fleet beginning in summer 2013|
|Bombardier CRJ-900||52||40||12||64||76||4 aircraft leased to ExpressJet Airlines|
Incidents and accidents 
- Flight 3701 was a Bombardier CRJ200 with a crew of two operating a re-position flight (with no passengers) from Little Rock, Arkansas to Minneapolis, Minnesota. It crashed on October 14, 2004 in a residential area in Jefferson City, Missouri due to the flight crew pushing the plane past its capabilities and ignoring warnings. Both pilots were killed.
- Flight 4712 was a Bombardier CRJ200LR from Minneapolis that overran the runway when landing at Cherry Capital Airport (TVC), Traverse City, Michigan. The plane was damaged, but no one was injured. The NTSB determined that the cause of the accident was the "pilots’ decision to land at TVC without performing a landing distance assessment" which in turn was caused by fatigued pilots and unclear directions from the TVC controller tower. The report recommended more landing distance training, post-accident drug testing, and further criteria for runway closures in snow and ice conditions.
- The FAA fined Pinnacle over $1 million for allegedly operating two Canadair Regional Jets in 2009 and 2010 that were not in compliance with FAA regulations. On one of the aircraft, the flight crew performed procedures which should have been conducted by maintenance personnel; FAA inspectors had denied a request to make the work an operations task. On a second aircraft, Pinnacle is accused of failing to conduct proper monitoring of a cracked low-pressure turbine case.
- "Where We Are." Pinnacle Airlines. Retrieved on May 19, 2009.
- "Pinnacle Airlines, Operator of Delta Connection, United Express, and US Airways Express Flights, Files Chapter 11". Frequent Business Traveler. 1 April 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- Pinnacle Airlines emerges from bankruptcy as a Delta subsidiary http://www.startribune.com/business/205700291.html?refer=yMay 1, 2013
- Pinnacle Airlines to move HQ, hundreds of employees to MSP http://www.startribune.com/business/188270531.html?refer=y
- "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-10. p. 64.
- "Welcome to Pinnacle Airlines Corp. | Located in Memphis, Tenn". Pncl.com. 2012-04-01. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
- About Us, Pinnacle Airlines
- Langlois, Shawn (2008-07-18). "Pinnacle shares soar as Delta stands by contract". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- "Pinnacle, Pilots At Odds Over Permanent Pay Cut." Aviation Week. Retrieved on March 21, 2012.
- "Embattled Pinnacle Airlines gives CEO Menke 60% pay raise." Memphis Business Journal. Retrieved on March 21, 2012.
- Prasad, Sakthi (2 April 2012). "Pinnacle Airlines flies into bankruptcy". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
- Karp, Aaron (2012-04-03). "US regional Pinnacle files for Chapter 11". ATWOnline. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
- Yamanouchi, Kelly (2013-01-04). "Delta to own Memphis-based Pinnacle". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
- Donahoe, Jane. "Pinnacle Airlines to move HQ to Minneapolis". Memphis Business Journal. Stuart Chamblin. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Pinnacle to fly exclusively for Delta upon leaving bankruptcy". Skift.com. 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2013-04-21.
- "Pinnacle Airlines Corp (PNCL:NASDAQ GS)". Business Week. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "PINNACLE RESTRUCTURING INFORMATION". 1 April 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- Pinnacle Airlines Route Structure Pinnacle Airlines.
- Pinnacle Airlines. "Pinnacle Airlines". Ch-aviation.ch. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
- NTSB Aircraft Accident Report, Crash of Pinnacle Airlines Flight 3701, October 14, 2004.
- NTSB "2008 Annual Report to Congress"
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