Atlantic Coast Airlines Pilot Hat Badge 2nd Issue
Dulles, VA 1989-2004
The story of Atlantic Coast Airlines begins with WestAir Commuter Airlines Inc., a United Airlines Inc. regional partner. In December 1989, United asked WestAir to put together a new operation on the other side of the country to replace a partner that suddenly went out of business, four-year-old Presidential Airways. The new WestAir unit would be using the United Express name. Atlantic Coast Airlines Holdings, Inc. (ACAI) is the parent company for the regional airline that shares its name. ACA also flies as a commuter under the Delta Connection name. The airline, in 1999, established Atlantic Coast Jet to operate as a Delta Connection carrier, but this was later reintegrated. United Airlines entered bankruptcy protection in December 2002. After announcing plans to part with United Airlines, Atlantic Coast Airlines' significant cash position made it a prime target for a takeover attempt. On November 19, 2003 Atlantic Coast Airlines announced that it would become a low cost carrier under the name of Independence Air. Its status as a United Express carrier ended on August 4, 2004 and its status as a Delta Connection carrier ended November 2, 2004. Operations as Independence Air began on June 16, 2004. On January 5, 2006 Independence Air ceased operations. On March 10, 2006, Northwest Airlines purchased the DOT Operating Certificate of then-Independence Air with the intent to use that certificate to form a new regional subsidiary. The result was Compass Airlines, which began service in August 2007.