American Eagle (airline brand)
|Founded||1984Fort Worth, Texas 1998 (second incarnation from Simmons Airlines)in|
|Parent company||American Airlines Group|
|Traded as||NASDAQ: AAL|
|Headquarters||Skyview, Fort Worth, Texas, United States|
|Operating income||See parent|
|Net income||See parent|
|Total assets||See parent|
|Total equity||See parent|
American Eagle is an American brand name for the regional branch of American Airlines, under which six individual regional airlines operate short- and medium-haul feeder flights. Three of these airlines, Envoy Air (formerly American Eagle Airlines), Piedmont Airlines, and PSA Airlines, are wholly owned subsidiaries of the American Airlines Group. American Eagle's largest hub is Charlotte Douglas International's Concourse E, which operates over 340 flights per day, making it the largest express flight operation in the world.
Prior to the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, most major US air carriers had maintained close relationships with independent regional carriers in order to feed passengers from smaller markets into the larger cities, and, in turn, onto the larger legacy carriers. In the post-regulation era, the hub-and-spoke system gained prominence, and in order to feed traffic from smaller markets into these newly established hubs, the major carriers outsourced regional operations to these smaller carriers. These relationships included the use of code sharing, shared branding, and listing regional partners in the computer reservations systems of the mainline carrier.
American Eagle commenced service on November 1, 1984, with a flight from Fayetteville, Arkansas, to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). This flight was operated by Metroflight Airlines (a wholly owned subsidiary of Metro Airlines), using a Convair 580 turboprop aircraft. Metroflight also operated de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter commuter turboprop aircraft on American Eagle flights serving DFW. Other operators contracted by American Airlines to fly the American Eagle banner during this time included Air Midwest, Air Virginia (later AVAir), Chaparral Airlines, Command Airways, Simmons Airlines, and Wings West.
On September 15, 1986, Executive Airlines joined the American Eagle system. With hub operations at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the addition of Executive Airways to the American Eagle family opened up an extensive inter-island network throughout the Caribbean.
Between 1987 and 1989 AMR Corp. (parent corporation of American Airlines) gradually acquired most of its regional carriers, starting with Simmons Airlines. By 1991, AMR had consolidated its wholly owned regional carriers into four separate entities: Executive Airlines, Flagship Airlines, Simmons Airlines, and Wings West. AMR would later purchase the assets of bankrupt Metro Airlines in 1993. At this point, AMR owned all of the airlines that were operating for American Eagle.
On May 15, 1998, Flagship Airlines and Wings West were merged into Simmons Airlines, with the new entity given the name American Eagle Airlines. Along with Executive Airlines, these would be the only two operators using the American Eagle brand name for the next fourteen years.
After American Airlines acquired Trans World Airlines (TWA) in 2001, it retained the contracts with the carriers that operated under the Trans World Express banner, which, at the time, included Chautauqua Airlines, Corporate Airlines, and Trans States Airlines. However, instead of being integrated into the American Eagle brand, these carriers operated under a separate regional brand known as American Connection. This brand name was used for thirteen years before being discontinued in 2014.
As part of its restructuring and emergence from chapter 11 bankruptcy, AMR announced that it would start contracting American Eagle flying to carriers outside of its wholly owned subsidiaries. On November 15, 2012, SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines, both subsidiaries of SkyWest, Inc. began operations for American Eagle. On August 1, 2013, Republic Airways a subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings, commenced flying operations under the American Eagle branding as part of a 12-year capacity purchase agreement to operate Embraer E-175 aircraft for American Eagle.
On September 12, 2012, AMR announced the discontinuation of the AmericanConnection brand, and all operations were going to be integrated into the American Eagle brand. However, Chautauqua Airlines, a subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings, and the only operator of American Connection flights at the time of the announcement, opted not to renew its contract. All AmericanConnection flights ended on August 19, 2014.
American Eagle service operated by Executive Airlines ceased operations on March 31, 2013. At the same time, its base at San Juan was dehubbed.
Due to the fact that an increasing number of other carriers were being contracted to fly under the American Eagle brand, it was announced on January 15, 2014, that American Eagle Airlines would change its name to Envoy Air. The name change took effect on April 15, 2014.
Compass Airlines, a subsidiary of Trans States Holdings, began American Eagle operations on March 27, 2015, as part of a deal to operate 20 new Embraer E-175 aircraft on behalf of American. These aircraft are based at American's Los Angeles hub.
In May 2018, American Airlines announced the termination of its partnerships with ExpressJet and Trans States Airlines as of 2019, meaning the end of those operators conducting American Eagle flights.
In March 2020, due to the reduction in flying in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Compass Airlines announced that it would be ceasing operations on April 5, 2020, ending its operations as American Eagle.
Operators and fleet
As of August 2020, the combined American Eagle branded fleet consists of the following regional jet aircraft:
|Airline||IATA Service||ICAO Code||Callsign||Aircraft||In fleet||Orders||Passengers||Parent|
|Envoy Air||MQ||ENY||Envoy||Embraer ERJ-140||25||–||–||–||44||44||American Airlines Group|
|Mesa Airlines||YV||ASH||Air Shuttle||Bombardier CRJ-900||64||–||9||–||70||79||Mesa Air Group|
|Piedmont Airlines||PT||PDT||Piedmont||Embraer ERJ-145||60||–||–||–||50||50||American Airlines Group|
|PSA Airlines||OH||JIA||Blue Streak||Bombardier CRJ-700||61||–||9||8||46||63||American Airlines Group|
|Republic Airways||YX||RPA||Brickyard||Embraer E175||85||–||12||20||44||76||Republic Airways Holdings|
|SkyWest Airlines||OO||SKW||SkyWest||Bombardier CRJ-700||58||12||9||16||40||65||SkyWest, Inc.|
|Airline||Years of operation||Notes|
|Air Midwest||1985–1988||Assets acquired by AMR and integrated into Nashville Eagle.|
|Air Wisconsin||2005–2018||Originally flew as US Airways Express. Transferred exclusively to United Express.|
|American Eagle Airlines||1998–2014||Rebranded as Envoy Air.|
|AVAir (formerly Air Virginia)||1985–1988||Declared Bankruptcy: Assets acquired by AMR and integrated into Nashville Eagle.|
|Chaparral Airlines||1984–1990||Acquired by AMR in 1992.|
Merged with Metroflight Airlines.
|Command Airways||1986–1991||Acquired by AMR in 1988.|
Merged with Nashville Eagle to form Flagship Airlines.
|Compass Airlines||2015–2020||Ceased operations in April 2020. Assets transferred to Envoy Air.|
|Executive Airlines||1986–2013||Acquired by AMR in 1989.|
|ExpressJet||2013–2018||Transferred exclusively to United Express.|
|Flagship Airlines||1991–1998||Merged with Simmons Airlines and Wings West Airlines to form American Eagle Airlines.|
|Metroflight Airlines, a division of Metro Airlines||1984–1993||Declared Bankruptcy: Assets acquired by AMR and integrated into Simmons Airlines.|
|Nashville Eagle||1988–1991||Merged with Command Airways to form Flagship Airlines.|
|Simmons Airlines||1985–1998||Acquired by AMR in 1987.|
Merged with Flagship Airlines and Wings West Airlines to form American Eagle Airlines.
|Trans States Airlines||1985–2018||Originally flew as Trans World Express. Transferred exclusively to United Express.|
|Wings West Airlines||1986–1998||Acquired by AMR in 1987.|
Merged with Flagship Airlines and Simmons Airlines to form American Eagle Airlines.
• In January 1988, Nashville Eagle became AMR Corp.’s first and only start-up airline, using equipment acquired from Air Midwest.
• Business Express was acquired by AMR Eagle Holdings Corporation in March 1999, although it never flew under the American Eagle brand before being fully integrated into American Eagle Airlines, Inc. in December 2000.
Historical regional jet fleet
The American Eagle brand, through its various regional and commuter airline partners, operated a variety of twinjet aircraft over the years including the following types:
Historical turboprop fleet
The American Eagle brand, through its various regional and commuter airline partners, operated a variety of twin turboprop aircraft over the years including the following types:
- ATR 42
- ATR 72
- Beechcraft 99
- British Aerospace BAe Jetstream 31 and 32 models
- de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter
- CASA 212
- Convair 580
- Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner
- Grumman Gulfstream I (stretched G-IC model)
- NAMC YS-11
- Saab 340
- Short 330
- Short 360
Piedmont Airlines, a regional carrier wholly owned by American Airlines Group, and acquired through the merger with US Airways, was operating a fleet of de Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprops for the US Airways Express regional brand. These aircraft had already been rebranded as American Eagle since the merger process is now fully complete.
Accidents and incidents
- May 8, 1987: American Eagle Flight 5452, operated by regional airline Executive Airlines, a CASA 212-200, was on a domestically scheduled passenger flight between San Juan, Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Puerto Rico when it crashed short of Runway 09 while landing at Mayaguez. After impacting, the plane continued through a chain-link fence and a ditch. Of the six occupants onboard (four passengers and two crew), two were killed. The cause of the crash was determined to be improper maintenance in setting the flight idle propeller and engine fuel flow.
- February 19, 1988: American Eagle Flight 3378, a Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner operated by AVAir, was on a regularly scheduled flight between Raleigh-Richmond when it crashed into a reservoir about a mile from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, from where it had departed, in the vicinity of Cary, North Carolina. The aircraft departed during low-ceiling, low-visibility, and night conditions. Analysis of radar data indicated the aircraft was in a 45-degree descending turn. Both crew members and all 10 passengers were killed.
- June 7, 1992: American Eagle Flight 5456, operated by regional airline Executive Airlines, was on a regular flight between San Juan, Puerto Rico and Mayaguez, Puerto Rico when it lost control and crashed nose-down about 3/4 mile from the Mayaguez, Puerto Rico airport. Both crew and all three passengers were killed. The aircraft involved was a CASA 212-200.
- October 31, 1994: American Eagle Flight 4184, an ATR 72 operated by AMR's regional airline Simmons Airlines, crashed near Roselawn, Indiana. The aircraft inverted, dived, and crashed from a holding pattern at 10,000 feet (3050 m) "after a ridge of ice accreted beyond the deice boots" resulting in an unexpected aileron hinge moment reversal that subsequently resulted in the loss of control. The four crew and 64 passengers were all killed. In the months following the accident, American Eagle redeployed its ATR fleet to Miami and the Caribbean where icing is not an issue. The aircraft manufacturer, ATR, has since improved the anti-ice boots. The American Eagle aircraft were modified with the updated deicing system. All ATR 72s were retired from American Eagle's fleet in 2013.
- December 13, 1994: American Eagle Flight 3379, operated by AMR's regional airline Flagship Airlines, a Jetstream 31, was on a regularly scheduled Raleigh-Greensboro-Raleigh service when it crashed into a wooded area about four miles southwest of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in the vicinity of Morrisville, NC. Of the 20 onboard (18 passengers and two crewmembers) 15 were killed while the five survivors received serious injuries. The probable cause of the crash was the pilot not following proper procedure in an engine-failure situation.
- July 9, 1995: American Eagle Flight 4127, an ATR 72 operated by Simmons Airlines, experienced a loss of the rear cabin entry door during its climb after taking off from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. The cabin door opened shortly after the first officer began to pressurize the cabin; therefore, only a slight pressure differential existed between the cabin pressure and the atmospheric pressure. Lack of damage indicates the door was unlocked/unlatched when it opened. The airplane was one of fifteen aircraft equipped with a new handrail and door handle design which was different than the majority of the ATR 72 fleet. The old handle was pulled down to latch/lock the door and pushed up to unlatch/unlock the door. The direction of motion was reversed so that the handle was pushed up to latch/lock the door and pulled down to unlatch/unlock the door. A private citizen located the separated door in approximately two feet of water in the Des Plaines River on July 10, 1995. Following this incident, ATR designed another new door handle design which returns the handle motion to push up to unlatch/unlock, and pull down to latch/lock.
- May 9, 2004: American Eagle Flight 5401, an ATR 72 operated by Executive Airlines, crashed in San Juan, Puerto Rico after the captain lost control of the aircraft while landing. Seventeen people were injured, but there were no fatalities.
- January 2006: American Eagle Flight 3008 from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles, a Saab 340B+ operated by American Eagle Airlines, encountered icing at 11,000 feet and regained control only at 6,500 feet, after some 50 seconds' descent. During the incident, in which no one was injured, the autopilot disconnected, the stall alarm/clacker sounded, and the plane rolled sharply left and right, experienced vibration, and pitched down. Manual deice boots were activated and ice could be heard shedding off and striking the fuselage. The NTSB report on this incident referenced three other Saab 340 icing incidents, as well as the Flight 4184 incident referenced above. The three were Nov. 11, 1998, in Eildon Weir, Victoria, Australia; June 28, 2002, in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia; and June 18, 2004, in Albury, New South Wales, Australia.
- February 15, 2017: American Eagle Flight 5320 from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to Gulfport–Biloxi International Airport struck a deer while taking off from runway 36C. The Bombardier CRJ700 was forced to turn around and abort the flight. The plane could be seen trailing a vapor stream from the right-wing as it circled back to land. Officials said there was a fuel leak, and crews sprayed the plane with foam. There were no injuries.
- November 11, 2019: American Eagle Flight 4125 from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Chicago O’ Hare International Airport, an ERJ-145 operated by Envoy Air, slid off the runway while landing in icy conditions. All 38 passengers and three crew were uninjured.
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