WestAir Commuter Airlines

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WestAir Commuter Airlines, also known as WestAir Airlines(IATA:OE,VB/ICAO WCA,SDU), was a United States airline formed when Stol Air Commuter changed its name in 1978. One of the founders was Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., who later acquired Allegiant Air.[1] Late in its life it was known as United Express Airline. It was headquartered in Fresno, California.[2] WestAir was sold to Mesa Air Group in 1992.[1]

Westair had a colorful fleet throughout its history, including aircraft such as the Shorts SD-360 and SD-330, Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirantes, Embraer 120s and de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter. Prior to this, when it was still Santa Rosa, California}-based STOL Air, the airline operated Britten-Norman BN-2 Islanders and Trislanders.

Upon becoming West Air in 1979, the West Air Group also bought Redding, California, Redding-based Golden Eagle Airlines, thereafter West Air began to operate that carriers former Cessna 402s. WestAir had three different call signs over the years, first was "Wescom". This lasted until the operation was briefly expanded to the eastern US, where Air Wisconsin used the call sign "Wisconsin" and was frequently confused with "Wescom". This forced a call sign change to "Shasta", but that only lasted a short period of time because it was frequently confused with "Cessna". Finally, "Sundance" became the call sign until going out of business. They did however change the IATA code from VB to OE during the latter part of the 1980s. The SDU ICAO code was retained throughout their history. Westair had hoped to acquire several Regional Jets, although no particular model had been specifically selected until 1987, when it placed an order for several of them to be delivered starting in 1988. Westair became part of the Mesa Air Group in May 1992. Shortly afterwards, Westair's handful of jet aircraft, British Aerospace Bae-146s, were disposed of in an attempt to dig the airline out of an economic hole. However, United Airlines canceled its United Express contract with the carrier, and in 1998 SkyWest Airlines replaced Westair as United's West Coast Regional Carrier.

At the time of its demise, Westair operated a large fleet of Embraer 120s and Jetstream J31s primarily from hubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The majority of the Jetstream fleet ended up stored in Kingman, Arizona, where most are still stored today. The Brasilias, however, became part of Utah-based SkyWest, and most are still flying with them to this day.

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[3]

  • The referenced times-table shows Westair prior to its operation under the United Express banner, after which the airline expanded its services.

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