|Hubs||MSY & HOU|
|Key people||Stephen Read|
L'Express Airlines, Inc. was an airline that was conceived as a regional airline to provide service to cities throughout Louisiana from its hub at New Orleans International Airport from 1989 to 1992. The airline's headquarters was in Kenner, Louisiana in Greater New Orleans, and it commenced service on August 9, 1989. It was a subsidiary of Read Industries, Inc., a company with headquarters in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Originally announced in April 1989, L'Express was founded by local entrepreneur Stephen Read with the intention of providing an intrastate airline to serve the major cities of Louisiana. The airline originally served New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Lafayette and Lake Charles with 45 weekly flights. Service was originally to commence in June 1989, however, service began later that August. For its first year, the airline saw gross revenues of $7 to $8 million.
By September 1990 L'Express was looking to expand service into other areas of the Gulf South area outside Louisiana. Service was first expanded to Houston, Birmingham and Mobile with future plans to expand to Jackson and Little Rock in Fall 1990 and to both Pensacola and Dallas/Fort Worth by winter 1991.
Due to increasing fuel costs, on January 9, 1991, L'Express filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The airline continued to operate, operating 80 daily flights by the summer of 1991 In February 1992, the airline ceased operations after its nine planes were repossessed by the finance company of their manufacturer, The Beech Aircraft Corporation, due to non-payment. Grounded on February 15, airline officials officially shut down its operation on February 28.
Service beginning in August 1989:
- Alexandria (Alexandria International Airport – AEX)
- Baton Rouge (Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport – BTR)
- Lafayette (Lafayette Regional Airport – LFT)
- Lake Charles (Lake Charles Regional Airport – LCH)
- Monroe (Monroe Regional Airport – MLU)
- New Orleans (New Orleans International Airport – MSY) – Primary Hub
- Shreveport (Shreveport Regional Airport – SHV)
Service beginning in September 1990:
Service beginning in 1991:
- On July 10, 1991, a L'Express Beechcraft C-99 (Registration N7217L), flying as Flight 508, crashed while attempting to make an ILS approach at Birmingham International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama. The plane crashed in the Ensley neighborhood and subsequently injured four persons on the ground, as well as destroying two homes. Of the 15 occupants on board, there were 13 fatalities. The cause of the crash was attributed to the captain's decision to attempt an instrument approach into severe thunderstorms resulting in a loss of control of the airplane.
- "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 27 – April 2, 1991. 99. "Head Office: 1919 Veterans Blvd., Suite 400 Kenner, LA 70062, USA:"
- Falgout, Cyndy (September 1, 1990). "L'Express adds Alabama routes". The Baton Rouge Advocate. pp. 15C.
- "NTSB/AAR-92/01 NTSB Aircraft Accident Report, L’Express Airlines, Inc. Flight 508 Archived 2006-06-13 at the Wayback Machine." National Transportation Safety Board. 47. Retrieved on June 14, 2011.
- Flournoy, Katheryn (April 20, 1989). "New airline to link all major Louisiana cities". The Baton Rouge Advocate. pp. 2D.
- Plume, Janet (January 10, 1991). "L'Express files for Chapter 11 protection". The New Orleans Times-Picayune. pp. D2.
- . Smothers, Ronald; Weather is linked to crash of plane; New York Times; july 12, 1991
- East Jefferson Bureau (February 19, 1992). "L'Express cancels flights". The New Orleans Times-Picayune. pp. C2.
- Chatelain, Kim (February 29, 1992). "L'Express Airlines grounded for good". The New Orleans Times-Picayune. pp. C1.
- Theim, Rebecca (July 21, 1989). "L'Express to begin intrastate flights from N.O. August 1". The New Orleans Times-Picayune. pp. C1.
- "L'Express Airlines, Inc., Flight 508 Aircraft Accident Report" (PDF). NTSB. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-06-13. Retrieved 2007-09-26.