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This article is about the airline that was based in the United States. For the airline based in South Africa, see Comair (South Africa).
Not to be confused with Con Air.
Comair Logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1977
Ceased operations September 29, 2012
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program SkyMiles
Airport lounge Delta Sky Club
Alliance SkyTeam
Parent company Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Headquarters Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
Boone Co, KY, U.S.
Key people Ryan Gumm (Former-President)
Former Comair logo

Comair was a wholly owned subsidiary airline of Delta Air Lines, headquartered on the grounds of Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport in Boone County, Kentucky, United States, west of Erlanger, and south of Cincinnati. Operating under the brand name Delta Connection, Comair operated passenger services to destinations in the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas.[1] Comair and Delta Air Lines announced on July 27, 2012 that Comair would cease operations on September 29, 2012.


Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante turboprop airliner wearing Comair titles when operating a commuter schedule to Cleveland Hopkins Airport in 1982

The airline was established in March 1977, and started operations in April 1977. Patrick J. Sowers, Robert T. Tranter, David Mueller and his father Raymond founded the airline in Cincinnati. It began scheduled services with two Piper Navajo aircraft. Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante twin-engine turboprop commuter aircraft were added to Comair's fleet in 1982.

Under its parent Comair Holdings, it became a public company in July 1981 to support the growth and capital requirements to upgrade its fleet. [clarification needed] It became a Delta Connection carrier in 1984. In July 1986 Delta Air Lines acquired 20% of Comair stock. Delta Air Lines acquired full ownership on October 22, 1999[1] at a cost of over 2 billion dollars.

On March 26, 2001, Comair's pilots went on strike. The strike cancelled the airline's flights and grounded its fleet. The strike ended 89 days later when a new contract was agreed to. However, there were seeds sown of a bitter animosity between the Delta pilot group and Comair. During the labor dispute in early 2001, there were some Delta pilots who contributed financially to the strike funds of Comair pilots. Like many legacy carriers, Delta furloughed a number of pilots after the attack of 9/11/2001. While waiting to be recalled, some Delta pilots were able to find work at some of the regionals such as Atlantic Southeast Airlines, who were not hit nearly as hard as the major airlines. However, a furloughed Delta pilot could only be hired at Comair if he/she resigns his/her seniority number with Delta Air Lines and thus, there were very few furloughed Delta pilots who went to Comair. This would intensify a rift between both parties.[2]

Comair came to nationwide attention during winter 2004 when it canceled all of its flights on Saturday, December 25 and Sunday, December 26, stranding 30,000 people. The reason was a combination of record snow and a crew scheduling software flaw. On December 23 and 24, a record snowfall hit the Cincinnati area, forcing the airline to deplete its entire supply of deicing solution. With the area highways closed due to the blizzard, no additional deicing fluid could be delivered to the airport, and Comair was forced to cancel all flights beginning on Friday December 24. After receiving necessary supplies overnight, the airline began the process of startup when the computer system that handled flight crew assignments shut down. It had been designed with a hard coded limit of changes for a month, which were far exceeded due to the poor weather in the prior days. The software had been in the process of being phased out at the airline in favor of a new system with more capabilities.

Comair's parent company Delta Air Lines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on September 14, 2005, bringing Comair into bankruptcy along with it. Comair announced that would cut costs by million dollars annually. [clarification needed] These savings were achieved by aircraft, flight, and employee reductions.[citation needed]

In late 2006, Comair opened an additional crew base and hub at New York's JFK Airport. Comair had the lowest percentage of on time flights of all major U.S. carriers during late 2006. This was the result of starting operations at JFK, a congested airport with poor staffing and an unfortunate terminal and aircraft ramp layout that severely dropped Comair's ratings in the DOT listings. In 2008, Comair tied with American for the lowest on-time performance, with 70% of its flights arriving on-time.[3][4]

During the course of 2007, Comair closed down its crew bases in Greensboro, North Carolina and Orlando, Florida.

On May 25, 2007, Delta announced that Comair would operate 14 CRJ-900 aircraft for Delta Connection. These aircraft will replace 14 CRJ-100 aircraft currently in Comair's fleet.[citation needed] Parent company Delta Air Lines replaced Comair's service in these destinations with Atlantic Southeast Airlines, a subsidiary of SkyWest, Inc., and Chautauqua Airlines, a subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings. In early 2008, Delta announced it was going to reduce its domestic capacity by 4-5%, in which Comair will reduce its 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet fleet by 8-14 aircraft. In March 2008, when oil reached over dollars per barrel [clarification needed] (see Oil price increases since 2003), Delta announced it would further reduce domestic capacity.

On February 10, 2009, Delta Connection announced that ground handling and gate service positions for Comair, Mesaba Airlines, and Compass Airlines would be transitioned to a new Delta Air Lines subsidiary. The interim name of the new company was Regional Handling Services until a new name was confirmed before September. Each airline will still have individual flying operations. Everything from ticketing to baggage handling was to be handled by RHS beginning in the 3rd Quarter of 2009. There will be a reduction in the workforce. The largest cut will come from Comair which will reduce its staffing by nearly half. A voluntary program is in place and involuntary cuts may come along later in the year as Delta mainline ground employees, take over positions of Delta subsidiary ground employees formerly contracted to Comair and then Regional Elite Airline Services.[5] [needs update]

On September 1, 2010 Comair announced that they would reduce their fleet by eliminating all of their aging Bombardier CRJ100/200 aircraft, expecting to have retired them all sometime in 2012. Retirement would start in 2011. Also, they expected to operate a fleet of 44 aircraft, and they also planned to reduce their workforce. Layoffs were to begin after September 2010, furloughing the pilot group to around 500 pilots (down to a 1999 date of hire). Their fleet was to consist of only CRJ700 and CRJ900 aircraft.[6]

In July 2012, Delta announced that it would be shutting down Comair. The last Comair flight flew from Jacksonville International Airport to Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport on 29 September 2012, ending more than three decades of operation.[7]


Note: All Comair service ended on September 29, 2012.

United States

Operated by Compass Airlines[edit]

United States


Comair CRJ-100ER

Before its downsining, Comair operated the largest number of regional jets of any airline with just over 100 planes. At the time of closure, the Comair fleet consisted of the following aircraft with an average age of 11.1 years, which were all operated as Delta Connection:[8]

Comair fleet
Aircraft In Service Passengers Notes
F Y Total
Bombardier CRJ100ER 2 0 50 50 Retired
Bombardier CRJ700ER 2 9 56 65 Transferred to GoJet Airlines
Bombardier CRJ900ER 3 12 64 76 Transferred to SkyWest Airlines
Total 7


Comair was headquartered in the Comair General Office Building[9] on the grounds of Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport in unincorporated Boone County, Kentucky, United States,[10] west of Erlanger,[11] and south of Cincinnati, Ohio.[12] As the airline ended operations, up to 30 employees were to remain working at the headquarters.[13]

77 Comair Boulevard, former headquarters

77 Comair Boulevard formerly served as the corporate headquarters of Comair.[14] The building is on South Airfield Road.[15] In 2010, after the airline began downsizing, it considered leaving the building and moving to another location near the airport. A spokesperson did not disclose how much office space the airline occupied; she said it was planning to reduce its space by 20 to 25 percent.[16] In early 2011, Comair vacated the building.[15]

Incidents and accidents[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-03. p. 67. 
  2. ^ forum 07-19-2012 RUMOR: Comair to cease operations October 1.
  3. ^ "Air Travel Consumer Report" (PDF). United States Department of Transportation. February 2009. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  4. ^ Mutzabaugh, Ben. "Which flights are always late? Delta partners, NYC airports top the list". USA Today. Archived from the original on January 6, 2007. Retrieved January 4, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Delta to reduce services at Cincinnati and drop 840 employees - Aviation News". 2010-03-19. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  6. ^ "Comair to shrink fleet, staffing - Business Courier". Sep 1, 2010. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  7. ^ "Comair's last flight to land in Minneapolis". 
  8. ^ "Delta Air Lines - Airline Tickets and Airfare to Worldwide Destinations". Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  9. ^ "Recruiting Events:" Comair. Retrieved on July 30, 2012. "Most career events are conducted at the Comair General Office Building (82 Comair Boulevard, Erlanger, Ky.) [...]" - Archive
  10. ^ "Career Area." (Archive) Comair. Retrieved on July 30, 2012. "Via mail: Comair, Inc. 82 Comair Blvd. Erlanger, KY 41018 Attention: Employment"
  11. ^ "Comair reinstates safety program." Business First of Louisville. Friday May 15, 2009. Retrieved on May 19, 2009.
  12. ^ Pilcher, James. "Delta looks to shed CVG buildlings." Cincinnati Enquirer. Thursday August 5, 2010. Retrieved on August 9, 2010.
  13. ^ Monk, Dan. "Delta wants to negotiate Comair separation terms 'as quickly as possible'." Business Courier. Friday July 27, 2012. Retrieved on July 30, 2012.
  14. ^ "CVG board approves lease deal for Southern Air." Business Courier. Tuesday July 17, 2012. Retrieved on July 30, 2012.
  15. ^ a b Monk, Dan. "Cincinnati could land Southern Air." Business Courier. Friday March 30, 2012. 2 of 3. Retrieved on July 30, 2012.
  16. ^ "Comair to shrink fleet, staffing." Business Courier. Wednesday September 1, 2010. 2 of 2. Retrieved on July 30, 2012.
  17. ^ "NTSB report AAR-80-8" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. October 8, 1979. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  18. ^ NTSB brief DCA80AA002 Archived January 20, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "NTSB/AAR-07/05" NTSB Retrieved 2 August 2014.

External links[edit]