United Airlines availed itself of more options to its imperiled code-share partnership with Atlantic Coast Airlines last month, when it recruited Indianapolis-based Chautauqua and Republic Airlines and Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Shuttle America to fly as United Express out of Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare Airports. Under the deal, Republic–established early last year as a non-union “alter ego” of Chautauqua Airlines but now to be staffed with Teamsters-represented pilots from the Chautauqua seniority list–will fly 16 seventy-seat Embraer 170s for United, while Chautauqua adds another 16 fifty-seat ERJ-145s. Shuttle America will assign 10 of its 19 Saab 340s–some of which now sit unused–to a new United Express operation at Dulles. Connecticut-based investment firm Wexford Capital owns all three carriers.
The agreements with Chautauqua and Republic expire in 2014, while the contract with Shuttle America runs through next year and includes a renewal option. Deliberately vague about the timing of the new service, United said only that the companies will begin operating flights “later this year.”