|Founded||July 1, 1979|
(merger of North Central Airlines and Southern Airways)
|Ceased operations||December 30, 1986|
(merged into Northwest Airlines)
|Frequent-flyer program||Perks Program|
|Headquarters||Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport|
Fort Snelling, Minnesota
Republic Airlines (IATA: RC, ICAO: REP, Call sign: REPUBLIC) was a United States airline formed by the merger of North Central Airlines and Southern Airways on July 1, 1979. Their headquarters were at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, in what is now Fort Snelling in unincorporated Hennepin County, Minnesota. The former headquarters is now Delta Air Lines Building C. Republic was acquired by and merged into Northwest Airlines in 1986.
Republic Airlines began in 1979 with the merger of North Central Airlines and Southern Airways, the first under airline deregulation. The new airline's headquarters were at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, though their largest hub was at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. Following their buyout of Hughes Airwest in 1980, Republic became the largest airline in the U.S. by number of airports served.
The company operated the world's largest McDonnell Douglas DC-9 fleet, with DC-9-10, DC-9-30 and DC-9-50s and also flew Boeing 727-200, Boeing 757-200, and McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jets. In addition, Republic operated Convair 580 turboprops previously flown by North Central.
After the merger, losses mounted and service reductions followed. Saddled with debt from two acquisitions and new aircraft, the airline struggled in the early 1980s, and even introduced a human mascot version of Herman the Duck. They reduced service to Phoenix, a former hub of Hughes Airwest, citing their inability to compete with non-union airlines there and eventually dismantled the former extensive route system operated by Hughes Airwest in the western U.S.
In early 1985 Republic teamed up with Simmons Airlines and Express Airlines I to provide feeder service from dozens of smaller cities to Republic's three main hub airports at Detroit, Memphis, and Minneapolis. The service was known as Republic Express using turboprop aircraft that were painted as Republic Airlines, accommodating from 14 to 34 passengers.
Republic Frequent Flyer Program
In October 1984 Republic introduced a new frequent flyer program called the Perks program. The new program eliminated the need to place a frequent flyer account number sticker on each flight ticket coupon, with earned mileage automatically being assigned to accounts if the reservation was booked directly with Republic. Each flight segment earned a minimum of 1,000 miles or the actual mileage, if greater. A domestic round trip reward ticket was automatically issued every 20,000 miles. The new program included a partnership with Pan American World Airways for earning and redeeming mileage awards. In January 1986, Western Airlines was added as a partner. Effective October 1, 1986, the Republic Perks frequent flyer program was merged into Northwest Airlines which adopted the WorldPerks program name, taken from Republic.
In 1986, Northwest Orient Airlines announced on January 23 that they would buy Republic for $884 million in response to United Airlines' purchase of the Pacific routes of Pan American World Airways and to provide domestic feed. Opposed by the Justice Department, the Northwest-Republic merger was approved by the Transportation Department on July 31 and was completed on October 1, with Northwest dropping the word Orient from their name after the merger. Republic's hubs at Minneapolis, Memphis, and Detroit became the backbone of Northwest's domestic network.
Northwest later merged with Delta Air Lines in 2008; the deal was finalized in January 2010, with Delta as the surviving air carrier. Republic's hubs in Detroit and the Twin Cities have remained intact with Delta; Memphis was dehubbed in 2013.
- 133 Douglas DC-9-14; Douglas DC-9-15; McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31; McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32; McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51
- 22 Boeing 727-200
- 8 McDonnell Douglas MD-82
- 6 Boeing 757-200
- 24 Convair CV-580 turboprop aircraft
Destinations in 1986
According to the Republic Airlines system route map dated March 2, 1986, the airline was serving the following domestic and international destinations shortly before the merger with Northwest Airlines:
- Phoenix (PHX) (previously a hub immediately following the acquisition of Hughes Airwest in 1980) 
- Little Rock
- Los Angeles — Los Angeles International Airport (previously a hub immediately following the acquisition of Hughes Airwest in 1980) 
- Orange County (SNA, now John Wayne Airport)
- San Diego
- San Francisco — San Francisco International Airport (previously a hub immediately following the acquisition of Hughes Airwest in 1980) 
- Denver — Stapleton International Airport
- Hartford — Bradley International Airport
- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Walton Beach
- Orlando (MCO) (previously a focus city immediately following the merger of North Central Airlines and Southern Airways in 1979) 
- Panama City
- Atlanta — Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (previously a hub immediately following the merger of North Central Airlines and Southern Airways in 1979 but no longer a hub in 1986) 
- Chicago — O'Hare International Airport (previously a hub immediately following the merger of North Central Airlines and Southern Airways in 1979) 
- Fort Wayne
- South Bend
- Cedar Rapids
- Des Moines
- Baton Rouge
- New Orleans (MSY) (previously a focus city immediately following the merger of North Central Airlines and Southern Airways in 1979) 
- Boston — Logan International Airport
- Detroit — Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport - Hub
- Grand Rapids
- International Falls
- Minneapolis — Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport - Hub & airline headquarters
- Pascagoula - served via Mobile, AL
- Kansas City
- Saint Louis
- Las Vegas — McCarran International Airport (previously a hub immediately following the acquisition of Hughes Airwest in 1980) 
- New York City — John F. Kennedy International Airport / LaGuardia Airport
- White Plains
- Grand Forks
- Cincinnati — Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
- Cleveland — Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
- Oklahoma City
- Rapid City
- Sioux Falls
- Memphis — Memphis International Airport - Hub
- Dallas — Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
- Houston — William P. Hobby Airport / George Bush Intercontinental Airport
- Salt Lake City — Salt Lake City International Airport (previously a focus city immediately following the acquisition of Hughes Airwest in 1980) 
Washington, D.C. / Virginia
- Seattle — Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (previously a hub immediately following the acquisition of Hughes Airwest in 1980) 
- Eau Claire
- Green Bay
- La Crosse
- Milwaukee (MKE) (previously a focus city immediately following the merger of North Central Airlines and Southern Airways in 1979) 
- Calgary, Alberta — Calgary International Airport
- Edmonton, Alberta — Edmonton International Airport
- Montreal, Quebec — Montreal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
- Toronto, Ontario — Toronto Pearson International Airport
- Winnipeg, Manitoba — Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
- Grand Cayman
- Puerto Vallarta
The airline had a high safety rating, but incurred a passenger fatality in 1983 when a section of propeller blade entered the cabin of Flight 927 at Brainerd, Minnesota on Sunday, January 9. Arriving from Minneapolis in sleet and snow showers at 7:40 p.m., the Convair 580 skidded off the right edge of the runway and the right propeller struck a snowbank. Three other passengers were injured, one seriously. Following this incident, the airline had a number of close calls in 1983.
- "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 111.
- "Fort Snelling UT, Hennepin county, Minnesota Archived 2012-01-19 at WebCite." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on December 19, 2009.
- Niemela, Jennifer. "Delta reaches deal on Minnesota jobs." Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. Tuesday December 16, 2008. Retrieved on January 19, 2012.
- "Republic looking at Airwest". Milwaukee Journal. (Los Angeles Times). March 12, 1980. p. 17.[permanent dead link]
- "North Central, Southern Airlines merger gets final OK from Carter". Milwaukee Senitnel. UPI. June 5, 1979. p. 5-part 2.[permanent dead link]
- "Republic Airlines gets CAB approval for Hughes merger". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. September 13, 1980. p. 7-part 2.[permanent dead link]
- "Republic Airlines takes over Hughes Airwest on October 1". Deseret News. UPI. September 18, 1980. p. 10B.
- Hengi, B.I. (2000). Airlines Remembered: Over 200 Airlines of the Past, Described and Illustrated in Colour. Midland. ISBN 9781857800913.
- Daniell, Tina (January 24, 1986). "Northwest takes a big step toward ensuring survival". Milwaukee Journal. p. 5-part 3.[permanent dead link]
- "Spokane losing Republic air service". Spokesman-Review. Spokane. February 3, 1983. p. 1.
- Sussman, Lawrence (December 15, 1981). "Republic's financial woes leave Milwaukee vulnerable". Milwaukee Journal. p. 12-part 2.[permanent dead link]
- Grant, Linda (January 30, 1982). "Airline industry may be teetering on the brink of disaster". Anchorage Daily News. (Los Angeles Times). p. E2.[permanent dead link]
- "Turbulent times for Republic Airlines". Ocala Star-Banner. Associated Press. August 30, 1983. p. 2D.
- "Duck the issue? Airline promoters try anything". Free-Lance Star. Fredericksburg, VA. Associated Press. April 8, 1982. p. 5.
- Ehrenhalt, Lizzie (December 19, 2011). "The amazing journey of Herman the Duck, Minnesota's goofiest historic artifact". Twin Cities Daily Planet. Minnesota Historical Society.
- "Republic cuts service to Des Moines". Daily Reporter. Spencer, IA. Associated Press. October 12, 1984. p. 6A.
- http://www.departedflights.com, September 1, 1980 Hughes Airwest system route map and March 2, 1986 Republic Airlines system route map
- Republic Airlines timetable April 28, 1985
- "Northwest Orient will buy Republic to become third largest airline". Deseret News. UPI. January 24, 1986. p. 4A.
- "Pan Am's sacrifice ends aviation era". Milwaukee Journal. (New York Times). February 11, 1986. p. 6-part 3.[permanent dead link]
- "Republic deal delayed". Milwaukee Sentinel. April 29, 1986. p. 13-part 4.[permanent dead link]
- "Northwest-Republic merger creates third-largest carrier". Miami News. Associated Press. August 1, 1986. p. 9A.[permanent dead link]
- "Two airlines get approval for merger". Eugene Register-Guard. August 1, 1986. p. 1C.
- Walters, Robert (October 2, 1986). "Trend toward monopolizing of the skies". Waycross Journal-Herald. p. P-3.
- http://www.departedflights.com, March 2, 1986 Republic Airlines system route map
- http://www.departedflights.com, Dec. 1, 1980 Republic Airlines system route map
- http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1979 Republic Airlines system route map
- http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1979 Republic Airlines system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1979 Republic Airlines system roure map
- "Plane slides off runway; woman killed". Milwaukee Sentinel. (wire services). January 10, 1983. p. 2-part 1.[permanent dead link]
- "1 passenger dies, 3 hurt as plane skids off runway". Milwaukee Journal. UPI. January 10, 1983. p. 4-part 1.[permanent dead link]
- NTSB Accident Report NTSB-AR-83-08, October 18, 1983, p. 1-2
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