Rio Airways

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Rio Airways
Beech 99 B99 N17RA Rio Aws DFW 20.10.75 edited-3.jpg
Beech 99 of Rio Airways at Dallas DFW airport in October 1975

Rio Airways was a regional passenger airline headquartered in Killeen, Texas, United States,[1] which was operational from 1966 to 1987.[2] Rio Airways operated briefly in a code-share arrangement with Delta Air Lines whereby Rio flights were booked and sold under the "Delta Connection" brand name. Prior to the Delta Connection, Rio Airways (Code "XO") operated independently but shared terminal gates at the DFW airport first with Texas International Airlines (1974), then with Braniff (1975-1978). Prior to operations at DFW it operated at Dallas Love Field, having formed of two smaller carriers, Dal Airways and Hood Airways.

Labor issues[edit]

In 1972, Rio pilots initiated collective bargaining efforts with proposed representation by the Teamsters, but vigorous opposition by Rio management and strong appeals by popular pilot Mike Mills, swayed the pilots to reject the union. Two years later, the Rio pilot group having grown dissatisfied with Rio management's failure to carry through with promises made to discourage the former unionization efforts, solicited the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to conduct another union vote. This time the initial solicitation was actually initiated by Mike Mills who personally handed out the solicitation cards to be signed by pilots, and the pilots unanimously voted ALPA subsidiary "UPA" as their collective bargaining agent.

After a year of failed negotiations the NLRB mediator declared a thirty-day "cooling-off" period and then made his recommendation known to the pilot group that "only a strike will likely force the company to abandon coercive and probably unsafe practices against the pilots." The pilots had an almost 100% walk-out beginning August 1976, with the exception of management pilot Herb Cunningham, and line pilots Mike Mills, Calvin Humphrey, Will Kilgore, and Hugh Longmoor remaining with the company. The company hired replacement pilots from across the country, many of whom arrived to discover the airline under a labor dispute.

The strike continued for two years, with no UPA pilot returning to the company, until August 1978, when pilots Calvin Humphrey and Mike Mills organized a "sweetheart" union which de-certified UPA and established the "Rio Pilots Association". Rio acquired competitor Davis Airlines of College Station, TX in 1979 and began service to that city.

The Connell's who owned Rio, sold it in early 1986 to a group of investors from Houston, Texas headed by Hugh Seaborn a former owner of Metro Airlines [3]

Rio operated various aircraft through its history starting with Piper Cherokee Six and Twin Beech aircraft, then using Beech 99 aircraft until 1977, switching to DeHavilland Twin Otters and later to DeHavilland Dash-7 aircraft, and finally to Beechcraft 1900 aircraft.


On February 16, 1983 an Iranian man, Hussein Shey Kholya, hijacked flight ILE-DFW. The plane landed in Nuevo Laredo.[4]

Destinations included[edit]

Temple, TX; San Angelo, TX; Waco, TX; Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX; Bryan/College Station, TX; Houston, TX; Wichita Falls/Sheppard AFB, TX; Texarkana, AR; Hot Springs, AR; Little Rock, AR; Memphis, TN; Greenville, MS Abilene, Tx Killeen, TX Lawton-Ft Sill Ok


Ted C Connell Chairman Of Board; Mark S Connell Vice Chairman of Board; Pete Howe, exec. vice-president

TranStar SkyLink[edit]

For a brief amount of time, Rio Airways provided code-share commuter passenger feed services for TranStar Airlines, the successor to Muse Air after Muses's acquisition by Southwest Airlines. Only in print media were Rio's aircraft ever illustrated in TranStar SkyLink brandings.[5] According to the newspaper the Victoria Advocate, plans were for TransStar Skylink to feature the aircraft livery in banner carrier (Commercial Aviation) fashion for TranStar, and operate smaller Fokker F27 aircraft to replace the DC9-50's then being used upon the Houston Hobby - Brownsville, TX and other intra Texas routes.

Among the routes[6] flown as a TranStar Skylink feeder brand were:
Killeen Texas - Austin Texas
Victoria Texas - Houston Texas

See also[edit]

Airlines of Texas


  1. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 112." Retrieved on July 23, 2009.
  2. ^ Information about Rio Airways at the Aviation Safety Network
  3. ^
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^
  6. ^