Regionals Update: Code-Share Breathes New Life Into Shuttle America

 - October 4, 2007, 8:44 AM

Less than six months after Shuttle America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Windsor Locks, Conn.-based de Havilland Dash 8 operator signed a new code-share agreement with US Airways covering new service from Boston Hanscom Field to Philadelphia and Trenton, N.J. The new code-share deal prompted a pledge for sorely needed financial backing from Wexford Capital, the Connecticut-based investment firm that owns Indianapolis-based Chautauqua Airlines. Wexford plans to acquire Shuttle America in full by early next month, subject to completion of a restructuring process and creditor and court approvals.
As part of the new deal with US Airways, Shuttle America on October 24 began flying five daily round trips between Hanscom and Philadelphia and six flights between Hanscom and Trenton Mercer County Airport with a pair of newly acquired 37-seat de Havilland Dash 8-100s. By December 1999 flying six 50-seat de Havilland Dash 8-300s in a network consisting of eight Northeastern cities, Shuttle America over the past two years shrank under the persistent competitive threat of US Airways, forcing the independent regional to pare down its flying to three destinations by this past July. Established in November 1998 as an alternative to affiliated regionals ensnared in hub-and-spoke networks, Shuttle America tried to develop a low-fare/high-frequency hybrid of Southwest Airlines, flying a non-centralized network built on a series of bases throughout the Northeast. Unable to attract enough capital backing without a major-airline code-share relationship, however, the airline finally resigned itself to more conventional thinking and signed its recent deal with the Arlington, Va.-based major.