New airline debuts at RDU


Raleigh-Durham International Airport has added a new commuter carrier to its lineup of air service providers.

Colgan Air Inc. debuted at RDU in mid-February as a commuter carrier for Continental Airlines. The Manassas, Va.-based carrier enplaned 1,442 passengers in the last half of the month, according to preliminary statistics released by the airport at its monthly meeting in March.

Colgan is providing service between RDU and Newark for Continental under the banner Continental Connection. Continental currently has seven flights a day during the week between the cities, with Colgan operating three of them.

Colgan is operating a 74-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprop, which allows Continental to increase seat capacity at its Newark Liberty International Airport hub without adding more flights.

Smaller regional jets operating between RDU and Newark have just 50 seats, and are operated by carriers other than Colgan. Continental also operates a mainline 737 between the two markets.

The Q400 operates at different approach altitudes and can land on smaller runways than regional jets. Aviation insiders say that should help it better adhere to its schedule.

Continental Airlines is the world’s fifth largest airline and employs more than 45,000 people. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 2,900 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 144 domestic and 139 international destinations.

Colgan Air Inc. is a subsidiary of Pinnacle Airlines Corp., which also operates at RDU.