Founded 1989
Alliance Continental Airlines
Fleet size 21
Destinations 25
Headquarters South Burlington, VT

Champlain Enterprises, Inc., operating name CommutAir, is an American regional airline with its headquarters in South Burlington, Vermont and its operations center in North Olmsted, Ohio.[1] It operates under the name Continental Connection for United Continental Holdings, with its main bases at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. It flies to destinations mainly in the Midwest and Northeast United States.



CommutAir Beech 1900D
Facing forward in the passenger cabin of a CommutAir Airlines Beechcraft 1900D

The airline was established in 1989 and started operations on August 1, 1989.[2] It had a marketing affiliation with US Airways. Its headquarters were in Plattsburgh West, Town of Plattsburgh, New York.[3][4]

The airline changed affiliations to Continental Airlines in December 2000, when US Airways did not renew the codeshare agreement. In July 2001 the company announced plans to downsize its fleet and workforce by approximately half and begin a reorganization of the airline. In early 2002 the company began a "micro-hub" operation based in Albany, New York. At its high point in 2003 and 2004 the hub served the following cities: Allentown, Harrisburg, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Burlington, Manchester, Portland, Bangor, Providence, Islip, Hartford/Springfield, White Plains, Ottawa and Montreal, all with a fleet of Raytheon Beech 1900Ds. Service was also provided out Boston's Logan International Airport to Rutland, White Plains, Allentown, Burlington, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Islip, Saranac Lake, and Plattsburgh. Following unprofitable operations as Continental's regional affiliate in Albany and Boston, all operations were gradually shifted towards the midwest in 2005.[citation needed]

In January 2003, CommutAir announced an agreement with Continental to feed the latter's Cleveland, Ohio hub. Service was commenced on March 16, 2003 with service to Kalamazoo, Michigan and Elmira, New York. Two cities were added the following month and by August 2003, CommutAir served 12 cities from the Cleveland hub. As of May 2007 the company has expressed plans to move operations from Plattsburgh to the Cleveland area, according to News Channel 5, WPTZ.[citation needed]

On May 20, 2008, Commutair's pilot group voted, 107 out of 118 eligible voters, for union representation by the Air Line Pilots Association.[5]

On June 5, 2008, Continental Airlines announced that it would cut flights and more than 3,000 jobs.[6] A week later, it was announced that some of CommutAir's flights would be eliminated following Continental's announcement, beginning September 3.[7]

Future expansion plans

On September 12, 2006, CommutAir announced that it would lease sixteen Bombardier Q-200 Dash 8 aircraft from Horizon Air. They now operate these 37-passenger turboprop aircraft under the Continental Connection name from Continental's Cleveland and Newark hubs.

In May of 2011, CommutAir began adding 5 Bombardier Q-300 Dash 8 aircraft to their fleet. Two of the aircraft are allocated to Cleveland services and 3 aircraft are allocated to Newark services.


On October 30, 2007, the company ceased operations at Plattsburgh International Airport. All operations are now conducted out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.[8]

On October 2, 2008, the company began operations out of Newark Liberty International Airport, following Continental Airlines plan to adjust to the softening industry.[9]


CommutAir operates services to the following scheduled destinations (As of October 2011):

International flights

Domestic flights


The CommutAir fleet includes the following aircraft:[11]

Aircraft Total Passengers Notes
Bombardier Q200 16 37 operated as United Express
Bombardier Q300 5 50 operated as United Express

Historical fleet

The CommutAir fleet was once composed entirely of Beechcraft 1900D aircraft, operated for US Airways Express and later for Continental Connection.

Incidents and accidents

CommutAir Flight 4821

CommutAir Flight 4821, a Raytheon Beech 1900C Airliner operating for USAir Express was flying from Plattsburgh, New York to Newark, New Jersey, with stops in Saranac Lake and Albany in New York.[12] On January 3, 1992 the aircraft on the route crashed into wooded mountaintop as it was landing at Adirondack Regional Airport. Of the 4 people on board (2 passengers and 2 crew) 2 were killed while the other 2 sustained serious injuries.[13] Shortly before the crash occurred, the aircraft had contacted Commutair officials on the ground at Lake Clear Airport.[14] The aircraft crashed near the peak of Blue Hill. The aircraft was new and the crew was experienced; after the incident the public was baffled, wondering how the incident occurred.[15] Of the deceased, one was 23-year old copilot Dean Montana, and one was an off-duty employee.[16]


The aircraft was not required to be equipped with a flight data recorder, therefore a flight data recorder was not present. The cockpit voice recorder was burned to the point that the data inside was not usable. The National Transportation Safety Board used aircraft position data from air traffic control, the aircraft wreckage, survivor interviews, and weather information to find its probable cause.[12]

The cause of the crash was determined to be pilot error in establishing a stabilized approach and cross-checking instruments. Factors related to the accident were: weather conditions and possible precipitation static interference, caused by inadequate grounding between the radome and fuselage that could have resulted in unreliable glide slope indications."[13]


  1. ^ "Welcome!" CommutAir. Retrieved on May 24, 2009.
  2. ^ "History" CommutAir. Retrieved on October 12, 2009.
  3. ^ "Plattsburgh West CDP." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 24, 2009.
  4. ^ Home page. CommutAir. October 12, 1999. Retrieved on May 24, 2009.
  5. ^ CommutAir Pilots Vote ALPA:NMB Election Results Show Overwhelming Support for Union
  6. ^ Continental joins trend by cutting flights, workers
  7. ^ Cleveland Hopkins takes hits in Continental cuts
  8. ^ Delta announces Big Sky flight schedules;, October 02, 2007
  9. ^ CommutAir Dodges Bullet; Regional Aviation News, June 16, 2008
  10. ^
  11. ^ CommutAir To Expand with Q200s
  12. ^ a b "In reply refer to: A-94-74 through -76." National Transportation Safety Board. March 28, 1994. Retrieved on April 23, 2010.
  13. ^ a b "ASN Aircraft accident Beechcraft 1900C-1 N55000 Saranac Lake-Adirondack Airport, NY (SLK)." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on July 5, 2009.
  14. ^ "2 die, 2 hurt in commuter plane crash." Chicago Tribune. January 4, 1992. Retrieved on April 23, 2010. "The CommutAir pilot had just contacted the company's ground officials at Lake Clear Airport when the plane went down near the 2400-foot peak of Blue Hill,"
  15. ^ "2 DIE IN BAFFLING CRASH OF NEW PLANE." The Buffalo News. January 5, 1992. Retrieved on April 23, 2010.
  16. ^ "2 KILLED IN PLANE CRASH." The Palm Beach Post. January 4, 1992. Page 20A. "The victims were co-pilot Dean Montana, 23, of Syracuse and an off-duty CommutAir employee whose identification was withheld pending notification of relatives."

External links

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