American Eagle (airline brand)

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This article is about airline brand. For other uses, see American Eagle.
American Eagle
American Eagle.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
See Operators
Founded 1984
Frequent-flyer program AAdvantage
Airport lounge Admirals Club
Alliance Oneworld (affiliate)
Fleet size 290
Destinations 160
Parent company American Airlines Group
Headquarters Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A.
An American Eagle Embraer ERJ-145 parked at Joplin Regional Airport, Missouri (2014).
An American Eagle Embraer 175 landing at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey (2014).

American Eagle is the brand name for the regional branch of American Airlines, under which nine 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 American. Mainline carriers often use regional airlines to operate services in order to increase frequency, serve routes that would not sustain larger aircraft, or for other competitive reasons. They primarily connect smaller cities with American's domestic hub airports, although they do offer some point-to-point service between non-hub airports. Just like the regional brands of the other two major airlines (Delta Connection, and United Express), American Airlines' regional brand accounts for more than 60% of American Airlines flights.


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. This flight was operated by Metroflight Airlines (a wholly owned subsidiary of Metro Airlines), using a Convair 580 turboprop aircraft. Other operators contracted by American Airlines to fly the American Eagle banner during this time included Air Midwest, Air Virginia (later AV Air), 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 Munoz Marin 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 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.[1] 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.[1]

After American Airlines acquired Trans World Airlines 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.

Recent Developments[edit]

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.[2] On August 1, 2013, Republic Airlines 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

Operators & Fleet[edit]

As of October 2015, the combined American Eagle branded fleet consists of the following regional jet aircraft:

American Eagle is the regional marketing brand of American Airlines. Currently, several airlines fly as American Eagle. Chautauqua's last scheduled flight with AmericanConnection was on August 18, 2014, and Envoy Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group, was previously known as American Eagle Airlines prior to the merger with US Airways. PSA Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group and an operator for US Airways Express, started operating new CRJ-900 next-gen aircraft in American Eagle livery since Spring 2014. As of May 20, 2014, PSA has taken delivery of three CRJ-900. On May 19, 2014, Mesa Airlines agreed to add another six Bombardier CRJ-900 regional jets to its fleet, and operate them as American Eagle. American has purchased 40 Embraer E-175 regional jets to be placed at Envoy Air.

American Eagle
Airline IATA Service ICAO Code Callsign Aircraft In fleet Orders Passengers Parent
F Y Total
Air Wisconsin ZW AWI Wisconsin Bombardier CRJ-200 71 0 50 50 CJT Holdings
Compass Airlines[6] CP CPZ Compass Embraer E-175 17[7] 3 12 64 76 Trans States Holdings
Envoy Air MQ ENY Envoy Bombardier CRJ700
Embraer ERJ-140
Embraer ERJ-145
Embraer E-175

American Airlines Group
ExpressJet EV ASQ Acey Bombardier CRJ-200
Embraer ERJ-145

SkyWest, Inc.
Mesa Airlines[9] YV ASH Air Shuttle Bombardier CRJ-900 64[10] 9/9/12 70/67/64 79/76/76 Mesa Air Group
Piedmont Airlines PT PDT Piedmont DeHavilland Canada Dash 8-100
DeHavilland Canada Dash 8-300
Embraer ERJ-145

American Airlines Group
PSA Airlines OH JIA Blue Streak Bombardier CRJ-200
Bombardier CRJ-700
Bombardier CRJ-900

American Airlines Group
Republic Airlines[12] YX RPA Brickyard Embraer E-170
Embraer E-175
Embraer E-175

Republic Airways Holdings
SkyWest Airlines OO SKW SkyWest Bombardier CRJ-200 27 0 50 50 SkyWest, Inc.
Trans States Airlines AX LOF Waterski Embraer ERJ-145 15 0 50 50 Trans States Holdings
Total 619 138

Former Operators[edit]

Airline Years of Operation Notes
Air Midwest 1985-1988 Assets acquired by AMR and integrated into Nashville Eagle
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 1987.
Merged with Metroflight Airlines
Command Airways 1986–1991 Acquired by AMR in 1988.
Merged with Nashville Eagle to form Flagship Airlines
Executive Airlines 1986–2013 Acquired by AMR in 1989.
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
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,[13] although it never flew under the American Eagle brand before being fully integrated into American Eagle Airlines, Inc. in December 2000.

Historical Fleet[edit]

A Saab 340BPlus formerly operated by American Eagle at Los Angeles International Airport. (2007)

The American Eagle brand, through its various regional and commuter airline partners, operated a variety of twin turboprop aircraft over the years including the ATR-42, ATR-72, Beech 99, British Aerospace BAe Jetstream 31 and 32 models, CASA 212, Convair 580, Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner, Grumman Gulfstream I (stretched G-IC model), Nihon YS-11, Short 330, Short 360, and the Saab 340. Currently, no turboprop aircraft are flown on any American Eagle branded passenger services as all flights are operated with regional jets. However Piedmont Airlines, a regional carrier wholly owned by American Airlines Group, and acquired through the merger with US Airways, is currently operating a fleet of Bombardier DASH-8 turbo props for the US Airways Express regional brand. These aircraft will rebranded as American Eagle once the merger process is fully complete.

Incidents & Accidents[edit]

  • On 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.[14]
  • On 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.[15]
  • 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,[16] 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.[17]
  • 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.[18]
  • On 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.[19]
  • 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.[20][21] 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.[22][23]


  1. ^ a b "A Short and Somewhat Confusing History of American Eagle, er, Envoy". The Crankey Flier. January 23, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ Associated, The (2012-09-12). "American Air signs deal to contract out some flying to SkyWest - Yahoo! News". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  3. ^ American Airlines confirms launch of E175 oeprations | CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  4. ^ Sky Talk: Eagle won't fly American feed out of LAX, closing pilot and flight attendant base. (2012-09-12). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  5. ^ "Compass Airlines Selected To Operate 20 New Embraer E175 Aircraft Owned By American Airlines". Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ American, Republic ink deal for large regional jets. USA Today. (January 24, 2013). Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  13. ^ "Company News: American Eagle Air buying Business Express." The New York Times. December 5, 1998 "?". New York Times. December 5, 1998. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ [2][dead link]
  16. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident British Aerospace 3201 Jetstream 32 N918AE Raleigh/Durham Airport, NC (RDU)". 1994-12-13. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  17. ^ [3][dead link]
  18. ^ [4][dead link]
  19. ^ [5][dead link]
  20. ^ NTSB Safety Recommendation July 10, 2006. Addressed to Honorable Marion Blakey, Commissioner, Federal Aviation Authority, pp. 1-4. Retrieved 2-15-09.
  21. ^ "LAX06IA076". 2006-01-02. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  22. ^ "Safety Recommendation" (PDF). Federal Aviation Authority. NTSB. July 10, 2006. pp. 1–4. Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  23. ^ "Investigation: 200402415 - Saab Aircraft Co SF-340A, VH-KEQ". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 

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