American Eagle is a regional partner of the world’s largest carrier-American Airlines (AA), founded in 1984. It is AA’s regional airline brand name, comprising a network of six FAA and DOT-certified regional airlines. All six carriers operate American Eagle flights which are scheduled, marketed, and sold by AA under codeshare and service agreements.
American Eagle is composed of Envoy Air, Piedmont Airlines, PSA Airlines, Mesa, Republic, and SkyWest. The first three carriers are American Airlines Group’s subsidiaries, whereas the remaining three are owned contracted carriers. Many people perceive Envoy Air as American Eagle, which is true to some extent. But Envoy Air isn’t completely the same as American Eagle. What’s the catch? Let’s find out.
Portraying Envoy Air as American Eagle
The reason why many perceive Envoy Air as American Eagle lies in the past branding of the carrier. Irving, Texas-headquartered Envoy Air was formally known as American Eagle Airlines. In 1984, American Airlines founded American Eagle Airlines as a regional airline affiliate by merging several regional carriers. The company continued to operate under the same name until April 15, 2014, when it was renamed ‘Envoy Air.’ The American Airlines Group changed the name to distinguish it from other carriers contracted to fly under the American Eagle brand.
Envoy Air is the largest regional subsidiary within the American Eagle brand and operates large short-and medium-haul routes. It handles America’s regional operations under this marketing brand.
It plays an instrumental role in AA’s broader network operations, accounting for nearly one-third of all Eagle-branded regional services. In this sense, portraying Envoy Air as American Eagle is appropriate.
Difference between Envoy Air and American Eagle
It’s important to understand the difference between Envoy Air and American Eagle. Envoy Air is an American regional carrier, whereas American Eagle is a brand that includes all of AA’s regional flying performed by six airlines. American Eagle comprises six regional carriers, including Envoy Air, which offers regional flight services to 240 destinations in the US, Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico. From this perspective, Envoy Air isn’t completely the same as American Eagle but forms a significant portion of the brand.
Envoy Air as American Eagle: Fleet
Envoy Air is one of the operators of the American Eagle branded fleet. At present, Envoy Air has a systemwide fleet of 141 aircraft in American Eagle livery. These include 25 Embraer ERJ145s, 15 Embraer 170s, and 101 Embraer 175.
Powered by two AE3007-A1E, Embraer ERJ145s carry 50 passengers to a range of 2000 nmi (3,700km). As a part of Envoy’s fleet replacement strategy, the carrier will phase out E145 aircraft gradually and transfer them to Piedmont.
The smallest aircraft in the E-Jet family, Embraer 170, accommodates 65 passengers in two classes. Twelve first-class seats are as spacious as that of the larger E175. Similarly, the stretched E170 variant, i.e., E175, can seat 76 passengers in a two-class configuration; 12 in first-class and 64 in the economy. Both E170 and E175 are the backbone of Envoy’s large regional jet operations and form a single fleet type from an operational perspective. The uniform fleet gives Envoy a lot of flexibility and efficiency regarding crew training, supply chain, operations, etc.
All Envoy aircraft fly under American Eagle branding but feature the ‘Operated by Envoy Air’ label for identification purposes. This will help to distinguish the flight operated by contract airlines, i.e., Mesa Airlines, Republic Airways, and SkyWest Airlines, in American Eagle livery.
Meanwhile, AA regional brand American Eagle has the following regional jet aircraft in service:
- Envoy Air: 141 regional jets (ERJ 145s, 170s, and 175s)
- Piedmont Airlines: 48 aircraft (Embraer ERJ 145s)
- PSA Airlines: 107 aircraft (38 Bombardier CRJ700s and 69 Bombardier CRJ900s)
- Mesa Airlines: 40 aircraft (Bombardier CRJ900s)
- Republic Airways: 99 aircraft (9 Embraer 170s and 91 Embraer E175s)
- SkyWest Airlines: 100 aircraft (80 Bombardier CRJ700s and 20 Embraer 175s)
Destinations served by Envoy Air
Envoy Air, the largest regional subsidiary within the brand, operates 900+ daily flights to 150 domestic and international destinations. The Texas-based airline provides regional services to American Airlines and ferry customers to/from American flights at its hubs and other major cities. Envoy Air operates out of its hubs in Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Miami to serve 150+ destinations around the world. The carrier conducts the highest flight departures from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), the powerhouse of AA. It is followed by Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois, and Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida.
The AA regional subsidiary provides air connectivity to 30 states within the US. As the hometown airline of Texas, Envoy Air serves 19 regional airports in the state, the highest of any other US state. On the flip side, it serves only one airport each in Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, and West Virginia.
Beyond the US airspace, Envoy flies to:
- Ontario and Quebec (Montreal and Quebec City) in Canada
- San Andres in Colombia
- Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Oaxaca (Huatulco & Oaxaca), Queretaro, and Sinaloa in Mexico
- Abaco Islands, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama Island, and New Providence Island in the Bahamas
American Eagle destinations: Where do American Eagle regional carriers fly?
The regional marketing brand of AA, American Eagle, has an enviable regional network spanning 240 destinations. Here is an overview of destinations flown by airlines operating as American Eagle:-
- Envoy Air: Destinations served by Envoy Air as American Eagle is already mentioned above.
- PSA Airlines: 700 daily flights to 90 destinations around the US (crew bases in 5 airports)
- Piedmont Airlines: Nearly 50 domestic destinations (crew bases in Charlotte, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia
- SkyWest Airlines: Nearly 400 flights per day to 100+ destinations in the US, Canada, and Mexico
- Republic Airways: Over 50 destinations across the country
Mesa Airlines, a subsidiary of Mesa Air Group, will stop flying routes as American Eagle, effective on April 2023. In December 2022, Mesa announced closing its operations in the American Eagle liveried fleet in April of next year. American Airlines winded down its agreement with Mesa citing the regional carrier’s financial and operational difficulties. This ends the six-year Capacity Purchase Agreement (CPA) between the two carriers.
The gap left by Mesa’s departure will be filled by five other high-quality regional carriers and AAG’s mainline operation. Moreover, American Airlines will soon begin a contract with Air Wisconsin, welcoming it as its new American Eagle partner. Appleton-headquartered Air Wisconsin is set to join American Eagle in Spring 2023, per a new contract with AA. The carrier operates exclusively as a United Express regional airline under the agreement, which will end sometime this year.
A quick look at American Eagle regional air carriers
The American Eagle regional brand is a network of 3 wholly-owned AA regional airlines and three third-party contract airlines. All three contract airlines conduct American Eagle branded flights via codesharing agreements with AA.
- AA-owned regional airlines under the American Eagle banner
Envoy Air, formerly American Eagle Airlines, came into being due to the merger of several regional carriers. Based in Dallas-Fort Worth, the carrier operates American Eagle flights on behalf of mainline carrier American Airlines. Envoy Air as American Eagle flights are widely available and serve more than 150 destinations worldwide.
PSA Airlines is another AA-owned carrier flying in American Eagle livery from its primary hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Washington. It began as Vee Neal Airlines in 1979 and later got the ‘PSA’ name to protect the trademark of Pacific Southwest Airlines. Pacific Southwest Airlines was America’s first budget airline that was eventually integrated into USAir in 1988. PSA Airlines operates 800+ flights per day to feed passengers from small markets to larger cities using exclusively ERJ145 regional jets.
Piedmont Airlines is a Salisbury-headquartered regional subsidiary of AAG founded in 1961. The airline maintains its hubs at CLT, PHL, and PHX airports and offers regional connections to 55+ destinations. It touts a humble fleet of 49 Embraer ERJ145 jets which have a seating capacity of 50 passengers.
- Other regional airlines operating under the American Eagle banner
Although AAG doesn’t own Mesa, Republic, and SkyWest, they still operate flights on behalf of AA mainline under its regional brand. Mesa Airlines began flying as American Eagle in 2014 and will operate the final service under the same brand in April this year.
Republic Airways is an Indianapolis-based regional air carrier established in 1998. It operates an American Eagle liveried fleet of over 90 Embraer 170 and 175s for American Airlines.
Likewise, SkyWest is a St. George, Utah-based airline contracted by American Airlines to provide regional service under its regional brand. It has more than ten hubs and flies to over 240 destinations worldwide for AA, Delta, and United Airlines.