Northwest Airlink was the trade name of Northwest Airlines' regional airline service, which flew turboprop and regional jet aircraft from Northwest's domestic hubs in Minneapolis, Detroit, and Memphis. Service was primarily to small-to-medium-sized cities and towns where larger aircraft might not be economical to operate and also to larger markets to either provide additional capacity or more frequent flights than could be justified using mainline aircraft. Beginning in July, 2009, the Northwest Airlink trade name was phased out, and replaced by the Delta Connection trade name, for Delta Air Lines as part of the Delta/Northwest merger.
|Airline||IATA code||ICAO code||Call sign||Aircraft operated||Parent|
|Compass Airlines||CP||CPZ||Compass||Embraer 170
|Mesaba Airlines||XJ||MES||Mesaba||Bombardier CRJ-200
|Pinnacle Airlines||9E||FLG||Flagship||Bombardier CRJ-200||Pinnacle Airlines Corp.|
Since the Delta merger Compass is now owned by Trans States Holdings and Mesaba is owned by Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
Northwest Airlink service was operated using 34-seat Saab 340B turboprops and 50-seat CRJ200 aircraft in a single class of service. Mesaba Airlines and Compass Airlines also operated Bombardier CRJ-900s and Embraer E-175s, respectively. Both aircraft were operated in a 76-seat, two-class configuration.
Northwest Airlink previously operated Avro RJ85 jet aircraft in a 69-seat, two-class configuration before this aircraft type was retired from the fleet. Other aircraft operated in the past by Northwest Airlink included various commuter turboprops such as the British Aerospace BAe Jetstream 31, CASA 212 and Short 360.
Incidents and accidents
- March 4, 1987: Northwest Airlink Flight 2268, operated by Fischer Brothers Aviation, a CASA 212 N160FB was on a scheduled flight from Mansfield to Detroit with an intermediate stop in Cleveland when it crashed while landing at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. The plane yawed violently to the left about 70 feet above the runway, skidded to the right, hit 3 ground support vehicles in front of Concourse F and caught fire. Out of 19 occupants onboard (16 passengers and 3 crew), 9 were killed. The cause of the crash was determined to be pilot error.
- December 1, 1993: Northwest Airlink Flight 5719 being operated by Express Airlines II, a Jetstream 31, was flying a scheduled flight from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport to International Falls with an en route stop in Hibbing when it crashed while approaching for landing at Chisholm-Hibbing Airport. The plane descended struck the tops of trees and then two ridges and came to rest inverted on its right side. All 18 occupants (16 passengers and 2 crew) died. The cause of the crash was the lack of crew-coordination and loss of awareness of the altitude during a night instrument landing.
- October 14, 2004: Pinnacle Airlines Flight 3701 was a Bombardier CRJ200 with a crew of two operating a ferry flight (with no passengers) from Little Rock, AR to Minneapolis, MN. It crashed in a residential area in Jefferson City, MO due to the flight crew pushing the plane past its capabilities and ignoring warnings. The NTSB has since finished its investigation of the accident.