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Continental Connection

Continental Connection
Continental Connection logo.svg
Commenced operations1986
Ceased operationsMarch 3, 2012 (merged with United Express)
Frequent-flyer programOnePass
AllianceSkyTeam (affiliate; 2004-2009)
Star Alliance (affiliate; 2009-2012)
Fleet size83
Company slogan"Work Hard. Fly Right."
HeadquartersHouston, Texas
Facing forward in the passenger cabin of a CommutAir Beechcraft 1900D displaying the integral and remote field operationally friendly, airstair built into the forward exit of this type of airplane

Continental Connection was a brand name under which several commuter airline carriers and their holding companies operated services marketed exclusively by Continental Airlines. As such, all Continental Connection banner carrier services were operated primarily with turboprop aircraft in contrast to Continental Express, whose flights were operated by Continental's regional jet partners, ExpressJet Airlines and Chautauqua Airlines. Continental Connection operations were merged into Continental Express in 2012.

According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG), earlier Continental Express flights, such as those operated by Royale Airlines followed by Britt Airways from the Continental hub at Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH), were operated with such turboprop aircraft as the ATR-42, Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante, Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia and Grumman Gulfstream I during the 1980s.[1]

All flights operated by Continental Connection carriers were given full OnePass frequent flyer credit, as if they were mainline Continental flights.

The "Continental Connection" name was discontinued and the operation was renamed United Express following the merger of Continental Airlines with United Airlines.


Airline IATA code ICAO code Call sign Aircraft operated Parent
Cape Air 9K KAP Cair ATR 42
Cessna 402
Hyannis Air Service, Inc.
Colgan Air 9L CJC Colgan Bombardier Q400
Saab 340
Republic Airways Holdings
CommutAir C5 UCA CommutAir Bombardier Q200
Bombardier Q300
Beechcraft 1900D
Champlain Enterprises, Inc.
Silver Airways (formed from Gulfstream International Airlines) 3M SIL Silver Wings Beechcraft 1900D Victory Park Capital

CommutAir operated a sizeable hub at Albany, New York during the 2000s even though Continental Airlines did not have any mainline presence at the city.

GP Express Airlines of Grand Island, Nebraska also operated as a Continental Connection carrier at Denver and Kansas City from 1994 through 1996. Continental Airlines had discontinued its hub operation at Denver by this time. GP Express operated Beechcraft 1900C and Beechcraft 99 aircraft.

In addition, other commuter and regional air carriers operated turboprop aircraft as Continental Express including Air New Orleans with Beechcraft C99 and British Aerospace BAe Jetstream 31 propjets primarily with connecting service into the New Orleans (MSY) airport and also to destinations in Florida. Another Continental Express carrier was Royale Airlines operating Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante and Grumman Gulfstream I turboprops with feeder service at Continental's Houston (IAH) hub.[2] Royale also operated Douglas DC-9-10 jet aircraft as a Continental Express carrier.[3] The Royale service in Houston was then replaced by Britt Airways operating as Continental Express and flying ATR-42 and Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia turboprops.[4]


Continental Connection fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers Routes Notes
Bombardier Q200 16 37 All leased
Operated by CommutAir
Bombardier Q300 5 50 Operated by CommutAir
Bombardier Q400 29 74 Operated by Colgan Air
Saab 340 10 34 Operated by Colgan Air
ATR 42 2 46 Operated by Cape Air
Beechcraft 1900D 21 19 Operated by Silver Airways
Total 83

Incidents and accidents

  • On February 12, 2009, Colgan Air Flight 3407 operating on behalf of Continental Connection crashed into a house on Long Road in Clarence Center, New York while on approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport; 50 people, including one on the ground, were killed according to New York State Police.[5]
  • On September 7, 2011, Colgan Air Flight 3222, with 23 passengers en route from Houston, TX to Lake Charles, LA landed at Southland Field, which was not their scheduled destination. The crew was subsequently relieved of duty.[6]

See also


  1. ^ [], Feb. 15, 1985 & Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG) editions, Houston Intercontinental flight schedules
  2. ^ [], Feb. 15, 1985 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Houston Intercontinental flight schedules
  3. ^ [], Nov. 1, 1984 Royale Airlines system timetable
  4. ^ [], Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Houston Intercontinental flight schedules
  5. ^ Wald, Matthew (2009-02-13). "Commuter Plane With 48 Aboard Crashes in Buffalo". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-13.
  6. ^ "Flight Crew Relieved From Duty Following Landing at Wrong Airport". Fox News. September 15, 2011.