Comair Inc.

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In 1981, Comair linked Tri-State Airport and Cincinnati with flights
 by an eight-passenger Piper Chieftain turbo-prop airplane.

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HUNTINGTON ó   As a pilot flying corporate-owned airplanes in the
1970s, David R. Mueller sensed a business opportunity.

Mueller realized that the airlines were cutting back or eliminating
 their services to short-haul markets so he teamed up with his
 father, Raymond, and two other men to start
their own airline to fill that gap.

Founded in 1977, Comair Inc. quickly grew from a family-owned business
with three small planes to one of the largest and most profitable regional
 airlines in the country. By 1999, Comair was worth more than
 $2 billion and had a fleet of more than 100 aircraft that
transported 6 million passengers yearly to
more than 80 destinations.

Comair began serving Tri-State Airport in 1981, flying eight-passenger
 Piper Chieftain jet-prop aircraft to and from its hub in Cincinnati.
Many passengers taking those first Comair flights at Tri-State
 were a bit disconcerted when, as they boarded, they were
asked how much they weighed. But, as was explained
 to them, the small size of the plane meant that weight
had to be evenly distributed around the cabin.
The airline soon upgraded to a larger
18-passenger plane.

Ultimately, Comair began flying jets between Tri-State and
 Cincinnati. In 1999 it discontinued its service at Tri-State,
 saying the flights hadnít been profitable for five years.
But it began serving Tri-State again in 2004.

In 1986, Delta Air Lines acquired 20% of Comairís stock.
 In 1999, it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta.

But Comairís days were numbered. When Delta filed for bankruptcy
 in 2005, it took Comair along with it. Before entering bankruptcy,
Comair had more than 7,000 employees and 1,160 daily
 flights. It immediately began slashing its fleet, flights
and workforce. But Delta decided those cuts
werenít enough and in 2012 shut down the
 much-shrunken regional carrier.

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Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Jan. 12, 2021.

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