Britt Airways

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For the French regional airline see: Brit Air
Britt Airways
Brittairwayslogo.jpg
IATA ICAO Callsign
RU BTA[1] JETLINK[2]
Commenced operations 1964
Ceased operations 1996 (merged into ExpressJet)
Headquarters Terre Haute, Indiana
Britt Airways Beechcraft 99 operating for Allegheny Commuter at Chicago O'Hare in 1975

Britt Airways was formed as a United States commuter airline based in Terre Haute, Indiana. Britt primarily operated turboprop aircraft but also flew British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven twinjets as an independent air carrier at one point as well. The airline evolved into a regional air carrier operating code share flights primarily for Continental Airlines.

Foundation and evolving operations[edit]

In 1971 Britt Airways purchased a small fleet of Beechcraft 99 light turboprop airliners and by late 1975 these were operated under contract as Allegheny Commuter flights on behalf of Allegheny Airlines.[3] According to the October 29, 1978 Britt Airways system timetable, commuter flights for Allegheny were operated by Britt from the airline's small hub located at Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD) with service to Bloomington, IN, Danville, IL, Indianapolis, IN, Muncie, IN and Terre Haute, IN.[4] In 1979, Britt was continuing to serve these aforementioned destinations as an Allegheny Commuter air carrier from Chicago and was also flying independently operated service to Bloomington, IL/Normal, IL, Champaign, IL/Urbana, IL, Evansville, IN, Galesburg, IL, Indianapolis, IN, Moline, IL, Peoria, IL, St. Louis, MO, Springfield, IL and Sterling, IL/Rock Falls, IL with flights primarily operated from Chicago O'Hare as well as an Indianapolis-Evansville-St. Louis route and an Indianapolis-Champaign/Urbana route.[5] All Allegheny Commuter as well as independently operated services were being flown with Beechcraft 99 and Swearingen Metroliner (Metro II model) turboprops at this time.[6] By 1980, the airline had expanded its hub operation at Chicago O'Hare with new service to Decatur, IL, Mattoon, IL/Charleston, IL, and South Bend, IN, and had also expanded its fleet with the addition of larger Fairchild Hiller FH-227 turboprops.[7]

In 1984, Britt was operating as an independent air carrier from a major hub located at Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD) and also from smaller hubs located at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) and Indianapolis International Airport (IND).[8] By early 1985, the airline was operating jet service as an independent air carrier with British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven twin jets and was also continuing to fly Beechcraft 99, Fairchild Hiller FH-227 and Swearingen Metroliner (Metro II model) turboprops.[9]

In 1985, the founder and owner of Britt Airways, Bill Britt, sold the airline to People Express. Frank Lorenzo's holding company, Texas Air Corporation, then acquired People Express,[10] following Texas Air's acquisition of Texas International Airlines (TI). Texas Air Corporation later acquired Continental Airlines (CO) and then merged TI and CO under the Continental name.

By 1986, Britt was operating code sharing flight services at the same time for two different major air carriers, Continental Airlines and Piedmont Airlines (1948-1989).[11][12][13] The airline was operating as Continental Express from Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD) and as a Piedmont Commuter System air carrier from the Dayton International Airport (DAY) in Ohio where Piedmont was operating a hub at the time.

Britt Airways then began operating code sharing flights under the Continental Express banner for Continental from its major hubs located at Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH, now George Bush Intercontinental Airport) in Houston, Texas and Newark International Airport (EWR, now Newark Liberty International Airport) in Newark, New Jersey.[14][15] According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG), in 1989 Britt was the primary Continental Express carrier at Houston Intercontinental operating ATR-42 and Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia propjet aircraft on feeder services on behalf of Continental.[16] By 1991, the airline was the primary Continental Express carrier at Newark as well operating ATR-42 and Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia aircraft according to the OAG.[17]

Britt Airways also operated out of Cleveland Hopkins Airport (CLE), beginning in November, 1987, flying Swearingen Metroliner (Metro II model) propjets. By 1989, Britt was operating all Continental Express flights from Cleveland with Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia propjets.[18]

In 1991, Britt Airways began operating Continental Express service formerly flown by Rocky Mountain Airways from Denver (DEN). According to the October 1, 1991 Official Airline Guide (OAG), the airline was operating Continental Express flights from Denver with de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7 and Beechcraft 1900C turboprops formerly flown by Rocky Mountain Airways as well as with ATR-42 propjets.[19]

Destinations in 1984[edit]

According to its May 29, 1984 route map, Britt Airways was serving the following destinations as an independent air carrier.[20] Destinations noted in bold were receiving British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven jet service operated by Britt in early 1985.[21]

Fleet[edit]

Britt operated the following aircraft types at different times over the years. Fleet information is taken from the Britt historical website, www.brittairlines.com

Britt also operated Beechcraft 1900C and de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7 aircraft formerly flown by Rocky Mountain Airways following its commencement of Continental Express service in Denver.[22]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

The airline's first fatal accident was on Jan. 30, 1984, when a repositioning flight from Terre Haute Indiana to Evansville Indiana crashed shortly after takeoff from Hulman Regional Airport in Terre Haute. Three Britt employees were killed. The National Transportation Safety Board could not determine the cause of the crash. The plane, N63Z, was destroyed.

Continental Express Flight 2574

Bibliography[edit]

  • Eastwood, Tony. Turboprop Airliner Production List. 1998. The Aviation Hobby Shop. ISBN 0-907178-69-3.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Britt Airways Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 18 February 2016. 
  2. ^ (PDF) http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/maintenance_hf/library/documents/media/aviation_maintenance/britt.pdf. Retrieved 18 February 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Eastwood, 1998, p. 54
  4. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Oct. 29, 1978 Britt Airway system timetable
  5. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, June 15, 1979 Allegheny Airlines route map (with Allegheny Commuter service) & Nov. 15, 1979 Britt Airways route map (independently operated routes)
  6. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Nov. 15, 1979 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Chicago O'Hare, Indianapolis and St. Louis flight schedules
  7. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, June 1, 1980 Britt Airways system timetable
  8. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, May 29, 1984 Britt Airways route system
  9. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Feb. 15, 1985 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Chicago O'Hare flight schedules
  10. ^ "BUSINESS PEOPLE; AN OLD SALT TAKES HELM AT TEXAS AIR'S BRITT UNIT," The New York Times
  11. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, April 27, 1986 Britt Airways route map
  12. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, June 1, 1986 Piedmont Airlines route map
  13. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, June 15, 1987 Britt Airways/Continental Express system timetable
  14. ^ "Decision No. 110-A-1992," Canadian Transportation Agency
  15. ^ "Decision No. 631-A-1993," Canadian Transportation Agency
  16. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Houston Intercontinental flight schedules
  17. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 1, 1991 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Newark flight schedules
  18. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Cleveland flight schedules
  19. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 1, 1991 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Denver flight schedules
  20. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, May 29, 1984 Britt Airways route map
  21. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Feb. 15, 1985 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Chicago O'Hare flight schedules
  22. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 1, 1991 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Denver flight schedules