Air Transport World

A major carrier: with the merger nearly complete, this 4-hub arm of AMR Eagle is looking more and more like its Dallas-based parent. (Flagship Airlines, Texas)

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NASHVILLE-TRIVIA question: What regional carrier has more aircraft parked here on any business-day morning than any other? The answer: AMR Eagle's Flagship Airlines, with more aircraft than American, USair, Northwest, Delta.

The fact that a regional carrier is the dominant force at this major metropolitan airport makes the claim all the more significant, considering that Flagship, once named Nashville Eagle, started in 1986 with i4 airplanes and a handful of employees working out of portable trailers.

As the name implies, Flagship Airlines has come to symbolize the founding vision of AMR'S American Eagle commuter network. The largest of the four AMR-owned Eagle partners, Flagship serves 72 communities throughout the Northeast, South and mid-states. It has hubs in Nashville, Raleigh/Durham, New York and Miami.

Flagship's genesis dates back to 1984, when American Airlines formed the Eagle network. American Eagle began as a franchise arrangement with code-sharing regional carriers that served American's hubs throughout the U.S. In 1987, American started acquiring its Eagle partners, beginning with Air Midwest's financially troubled Nashville operation. The acquisition of the former Air Virginia operation, based at Raleigh, followed. Simmons Airlines in Chicago, California regional Wings West, Command Airways, based in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., and Executive Air in San juan also were bought. Metroflight at Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport remains the only non-owned Eagle partner.

Today, Flagship is the amalgamation of the Nashville, Raleigh, Command and Miami operations. The Miami hub was opened in 1989.

Flagship started coming into its own in December, 1990, when AMR decided to merge the Command and Nashville Eagle operations at Nashville. …

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