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.
20/10/2015 06:28:02 pm
One of the benefits of a hub in Atlanta is the better southern USA weather. ATR-72's were probably a very efficient and well-suited aircraft for warmer southern air, on routes with density less than required Delta's DC-9's or MD-80-type aircraft.
21/10/2015 04:42:07 am
Cheers Jim. I think at the end of the day it comes down to fuel costs the most. When fuel was cheap everyone was happy with 50 seaters and now its relatively cheap again. Having said that the US market appears to have skewed everyone else so that nowadays only ATR are producing a viable prop that seats less than 70. Its bizarre and I wonder what will happen to all those airlines flying low density regional routes with 19-50 seaters. Like Air NZ has recently they'll be forced to close them (Eagle Air is stopping flying B1900Ds). The routes are allegedly unsustainable but really it seems the market is making them that way to me. Then again I guess if there really was demand people would be building smaller config props?
4/6/2022 11:11:04 am
I am looking for any model of ASA. Mainly crj-700 &900. My girlfriend father was a captain for ASA for 20+ years. He has every model except those two. Any guidance or information on how to obtain them or have them custom done would be greatly appreciated. The man is very humble but I am trying to date his daughter and make a good impression. Any help would be a blessing.
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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: