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United Express is a brand name under which seven regional airlines operate feeder flights for United Airlines. They primarily connect smaller cities with United's domestic hub airports and “focus cities,” although they offer some point-to-point service such as Sacramentomarker to Eurekamarker.

As of August 1, 2009, these carriers are the following:

Airline IATA code ICAO code Call sign United flight number range Aircraft operated Parent
Chautauqua Airlines RP CHQ Chautauqua UA7775-7874 Republic Airways Holdings
Colgan Air 9L CJC Colgan UA6850-6999 Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
GoJet Airlines G7 GJS Lindbergh UA5280-5404 Trans States Holdings
Mesa Airlines YV ASH Air Shuttle UA7000-7349 Mesa Air Group
Shuttle America S5 TCF Mercury UA7500-7774 Republic Airways Holdings
SkyWest Airlines OO SKW SkyWest UA5405-6849 SkyWest, Inc.
Trans States Airlines AX LOF Waterski UA7875-8099 Trans States Holdings

As of Sept. 30, 2009, United's affiliates operated 292 aircraft.


Major airlines in the United Statesmarker had long maintained relationships with regional carriers which fed passengers from small markets to larger towns. The Airline Deregulation Act spurred industry consolidation both vertically and horizontally, and as the hub system became more pronounced, airlines formalized these relationships through code sharing, shared branding, and listing regional partners in computer reservations systems. On May 1, 1985, United formally partnered with Air Wisconsin, Aspen Airways, and WestAir as United Express, feeding its hubs at Chicago-O'Haremarker, Denver-Stapletonmarker, and San Francisco International Airportsmarker. Air Wisconsin and Aspen would merge in 1991.

In 1988, Presidential Airways became a United Express carrier for United's new hub at Washington Dulles International Airportmarker, but soon foundered. In response, WestAir formed an eastern division to serve Dulles. WestAir itself experienced turmoil; in 1991 it spun off the new division into an independent company, Atlantic Coast Airlines (ACA), which years later would go on to become Independence Air.

In 1992 Great Lakes Airlines became a United Express partner, followed by Trans States Airlines the following year. In 1997, as United officially designated Los Angeles International Airportmarker one of its hubs, SkyWest Airlines became a United Express partner as well. Great Lakes left the United Express system in 2001, although it continues to codeshare some routes with United.

In 1993, Trans States Airlines started United Feeder Service, to operate British Aerospace BAe ATP aircraft for United Airlines. The aircraft, originally owned by Air Wisconsin, were transferred and subsequently owned by United. UFS operated routes to Chicago O'Hare marker from close markets in the U.S. Upper Midwest. UFS was eliminated from the United Express carrier network in 1999, and disappeared.

When United declared for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2002, it pressured its regional partners for reduced fees. In 2004, ACA canceled its contract and reinvented itself as low-cost carrier Independence Air. The next year, Air Wisconsin unsuccessfully bid to retain its flying contract, thought it did retain some ground-handling United Express operations. To compensate, United has initiated new service agreements with Colgan Air, Trans States subsidiary GoJet Airlines, and Republic Airways Holdings subsidiaries Chautauqua Airlines and Shuttle America.

In 2005, United announced that service levels on major United Express routes would be upgraded to a new product called explus. Routes with explus service offer first class seats and meal service on larger, 70-seat Embraer 170 and 66-seat Bombardier CRJ-700 aircraft. Expanding the traditional regional partner role, United started to use the airplanes configured with explus amenities instead of, or alongside with, mainline jets on routes linking large cities, such as Chicago to Houston.

United announced a new Express focus city at San Antonio International Airportmarker in 2006, but the experiment was short-lived.

United declined to renew its contract with Mesa Air Group in November 2009, and on November 16, announced that ExpressJet Airlines would begin operating Embraer ERJ 145 beginning in the spring of 2010.


See: United Express destinations


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