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Colgan Air operates flight

You won't see it listed on the departure and arrival screens at the airport, but the company that operated the ill-fated regional flight for Continental Airlines on Thursday night is a common presence in Buffalo.

Continental Connection Flight 3407 was flown by Colgan Air, a Manassas, Va.-based regional airline that is a subsidiary of publicly traded Pinnacle Airlines Corp. of Memphis, Tenn. It operates a fleet of 51 regional turboprops as Continental Connection, United Express and US Airways Express.

Originally founded in 1965 by Charles J. Colgan Sr. as Colgan Airways Corp., the company ran a shuttle for IBM Corp. before expanding into commercial service. It was sold in 1986 to Presidential Airlines in suburban Washington but was restarted in 1991 after Presidential folded.

It linked up with Continental to provide commuter and connection service in 1997, and then added U.S. Airways in December 1999.

Pinnacle, which also owns Pinnacle Airlines, operates 142 regional jets as Northwest Airlink and Delta Connection in the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

In all, Pinnacle subsidiaries make more than 1,000 daily flights and transport 13 million passengers a year to 144 cities and towns in North America, with "hubs" in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Newark, N.J., Washington's Dulles International Airport, Houston, New York City, LaGuardia Airport, Memphis, and Minneapolis.

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com

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