Air Transport World

Allegheny Commuter sets the pace for marketing agreements.

Allegheny Commuter sets the pace for marketing agreements If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, the Allegheny Commuter System must, indeed, feel honored. As it nears the end of its second decade, Allegheny Commuter, USAir's network of feeder airlines, can look around at a plethora of imitators.

Air Kentucky, Chautauqua Airlines, Crown Airways, Pennsylvania Airlines, Pocono Airlines, Southern Jersey Airways and Suburban Airlines now collectively carry Allegheny Commuter colors from New England south to Norfolk, west to St. Louis, north to Chicago. After a four-year start-up period, Allegheny Commuter flights have covered this region for more than 15 years, meshing with USAir's area of highest route density. When the system began, no one foresaw the way it would eventually evolve.

The system operates 594 flights daily, feeding USAir at Baltimore, Boston, Newark, New York City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Pittsburgh alone accounts for 115 daily departures, with Philadelphia next with another 83.

The names and coverage of other feeder systems vary with the affiliation. American Eagle, Delta Connection, Eastern Express, Northwest Airlink, Republic Express and TWExpress represent some of the newer networks. Other feeder systems exist without such market-oriented names. All 12 majors share their CRS code with one or more commuter/regional carriers.

Each of those other systems vary in the approach they take. The basic idea originated by Allegheny Commuter is common to all of these so-called marketing agreements. A major or national airline allows one or more other airlines (usually smaller commuter/regionals) to use its two-letter identifier code in printed schedules in the Official Airline Guide and in the computer reservation systems. The larger airline extends on-line fares and its fare discounts to the smaller carrier, helps with the marketing, passenger service and baggage handling at interline points. …

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