WestAir Commuter Airlines

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WestAir Commuter Airlines
Founded 1978
Ceased operations 1992
Operating bases Fresno, California
Key people Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr.

WestAir Commuter Airlines, also known as WestAir Airlines(IATA:OE,VB/ICAO WCA,SDU), was a United States airline formed when Stol Air Commuter changed its name in 1978. One of the founders was Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., who later acquired Allegiant Air.[1] WestAir subsequently became a United Express air carrier via a code sharing agreement with United Airlines. It was headquartered in Fresno, California.[2] WestAir was sold to Mesa Air Group in 1992.[1]

WestAir operated a diverse fleet during its history, including such turboprop aircraft as the Short 330 and Short 360, Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante, British Aerospace Jetstream 31, Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia and de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter. The airline had previously operated Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander and Britten-Norman Trislander STOL capable aircraft when it was known as Stol Air Commuter and was based in San Rafael, CA with administrative offices in Santa Rosa, CA before the name change to WestAir.

Upon becoming WestAir in 1979, the WestAir Group also bought Redding, California-based Golden Eagle Airlines, thereafter WestAir began to operate that former air carrier's Cessna 402 twin prop aircraft. WestAir used three different call signs over the years, first was "Wescom". This lasted until the operation was briefly expanded to the eastern US, where Air Wisconsin used the call sign "Wisconsin" and was frequently confused with "Wescom". This forced a call sign change to "Shasta", but that only lasted a short period of time because it was frequently confused with "Cessna". Finally, "Sundance" became the call sign until WestAir went out of business. The airline did however change the IATA code from VB to OE during the latter part of the 1980s. The SDU ICAO code was retained throughout their history. WestAir had hoped to acquire several regional jets, although no particular model had been specifically selected until 1987, when it placed an order for several British Aerospace BAe 146-200 jets to be delivered starting in 1988. WestAir became part of the Mesa Air Group in May 1992. Shortly afterwards, WestAir's handful of British Aerospace BAe 146 jet aircraft were disposed of in an attempt to dig the airline out of an economic hole. However, United Airlines then canceled its United Express contract with the carrier, and in 1998 SkyWest Airlines replaced Westair as United's west coast regional United Express air carrier.

At the time of its demise, WestAir operated a large fleet of Embraer EMB-120 and BAe Jetstream J31 propjets primarily from hubs in Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO). The majority of the Jetstream fleet ended up being stored in Kingman, Arizona, where most remain today. The Brasilias, however, became part of Utah-based SkyWest, and most of these aircraft were flown by the airline for many years before SkyWest announced that it would retire all of its Brasilia turboprops in 2015.

Destinations[edit]

[3]

The following destinations were primarily served by WestAir's United Express service. Prior to becoming a United Express air carrier, WestAir operated as an independent airline and also formerly operated as Stol Air Commuter.[4][5] Those destinations in bold received British Aerospace BAe 146-200 jet service operated by WestAir as United Express:[6]

The referenced timetables refer to WestAir destinations both prior to and during its operation under the United Express banner. As a United Express air carrier, the airline expanded its services via its code sharing agreement with United Airlines.

Historical fleet[edit]

WestAir operated the following aircraft types at various times during its existence:[7]

WestAir predecessor Stol Air Commuter operated Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander and Britten-Norman BN-2A Trislander prop aircraft, both of which have STOL (short take-off and landing) capabilities.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Plan saves Fresno, California based Allegiant Air"
  2. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 14–20, 1990. 136.
  3. ^ WestAir Airlines
  4. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, June 1, 1978 Stol Air Commuter system timetable
  5. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Sept. 1, 1979 WestAir system timetable
  6. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG) edition
  7. ^ http://www.airliners.net, WestAir Commuter Airlines aircraft and United Express/WestAir Commuter Airlines aircraft

External links[edit]