Atlantic Southeast joined the new Delta Connection network in 1984 but in these early days there was no rebranding of the ASA fleet. The same year ten Shorts 360s arrived from the Belfast based manufacturer. The boxy rugged Shorts was a stalwart of early-80s commuters but looked old fashioned compared to the Embraer 120 Brasilia, which entered service in 1985. ASA was the first operator of the Brasilia in the world and the type gave ASA the chance to increase its flight range to 350 miles radius of Atlanta. Eventually over 70 EMB-120s would be delivered - the last in 1993.
In 1986 ASA expanded its operations for Delta by opening operations at Dallas Fort-Worth serving 5 destinations with 54 daily flights. In January 1987 the airline gained Air Transport World's Regional Airline of the Year award.
ASA lost any independence it had left when Delta acquired the company on March 22, 1999. In 2000, Comair, joined ASA in announcing industry's largest regional jet order. Also in 2000, ASA went international with flights to Toronto from Atlanta.
Despite huge orders for regional jets seven second-hand ATR-72s joined the 12 already on hand. These aircraft were all ex-Mount Cook Airlines of New Zealand aircraft. N532AS had been delivered as ZK-MCW in December 1995 after first flying as F-WWLO. The extra leased ATR’s leases all ran out in 2005 and they left the fleet. This aircraft joined Air Bagan of Burma registered as XY-AIE in April 2006. She was written off in a runway overrun after an aborted takeoff on February 19, 2008 at Putao, Myanmar.
The eight eldest ATRs were actually the last to leave the fleet and all joined FedEx in 2010 as freighters. Four have joined MAC Mountain Air Cargo whilst the other four, including N631AS, have joined Empire Airlines. This aircraft now carries the registration N803FX.
ASA itself continued to grow hugely in the 2000s bouyed by the regional jet boom. CRJ-700 70 seaters entered service from 2002 and by June 2003 100 RJs were in service. In 2005 Delta sold ASA to its other regional partner Skywest Airlines. ASA continued to operate under its own name until 2010 when Skywest announced that ASA would takeover ExpressJet. The combined carrier tookover the ExpressJet name under a single AOC (but only after aborting the name SureJet following an employee revolt) creating the largest regional airline in the world with over 400 aircraft. By this time ASA had operated hubs in Atlanta, Dallas, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles so had definitely expanded beyond its traditional southeastern home.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: