Cape Air

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Cape Air
Cape Air logo
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1989 (1989)
Focus cities
Fleet size94
Company sloganWe're your wings
HeadquartersBarnstable, Massachusetts, U.S.
Key peopleDaniel A. Wolf (CEO) [1]
Linda Markham (President)[2]
Revenue$120M (2014)[3]
Cape Air headquarters in Hyannis, Massachusetts

Hyannis Air Service, Inc., operating as Cape Air, is an airline headquartered at Barnstable Municipal Airport in Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.[5] It operates scheduled passenger services in the Northeast, the Caribbean, Midwest, and Eastern Montana. Flights between Hyannis and Nantucket, Massachusetts, are operated under the Nantucket Airlines brand, also operated by Hyannis Air Service, Inc.[6]

As of November 2013, Cape Air received $32,241,274 in annual U.S. federal government subsidies for the Essential Air Services that they provided to rural airports throughout the country.[7]


Cape Air founder Dan Wolf

The airline was co-founded in 1988 by company pilots Craig Stewart and Dan Wolf, and investor Grant Wilson. Initially, Cape Air flew between Provincetown and Boston in Massachusetts, but throughout the early 1990s new routes were added to destinations across southeastern New England. In 1994, Cape Air and Nantucket Airlines merged and now offer hourly flights between Nantucket and Hyannis. Services in Florida and the Caribbean were added in the late 1990s.

Former ATR 42 operated for Continental Connection

2004 marked the launch year of FAR Part 121 certification and a new hub of operations in Guam. This included a new fleet type consisting of three ATR 42 Turboprop aircraft; the startup team, led by Pacific Administrator, Captain Russell Price,[citation needed] launched scheduled service in July 2004 with the three ATR aircraft and two of the C402. Service was as a Continental Connection Carrier, flying from Guam to the Northern Mariana Islands of Saipan and Rota. Due to the International Dateline and the midnight connecting service to/from Japan, it was sometimes referred to as "America's First Flight" i.e.: the first departure daily of any airline flight in the United States.[citation needed]

In late 2007, the airline began a new round of expansion in the Northeast and Midwest. On November 1, 2007, the airline began service between Boston and Rutland, Vermont, with three daily round trips; the route is operated under contract with the U.S. government Essential Air Service (EAS) program.

With the help of an intrastate minimum revenue guarantee, Cape Air expanded into Indiana on November 13, 2007, offering flights from Indianapolis to Evansville and South Bend. Passenger revenue did not grow quickly enough to make the operation economically sustainable once the revenue guarantee ended, so the last Cape Air flight in Indiana was on August 31, 2008.

The airline expanded into upstate New York in early 2008, following the sudden demise of Delta Connection carrier Big Sky Airlines. Cape Air began flying three daily round-trips on Essential Air Service routes from Boston to the Adirondack cities of Plattsburgh and Saranac Lake on February 12, 2008.

The airline continued its expansion into New York when they started to fly the EAS routes out of Albany to Watertown, Ogdensburg, and Massena, and Rutland Airport. Cape Air commenced service from Rockland, Maine, and Lebanon, New Hampshire, to Boston on November 1, 2008. Cape Air is currently the only airline offering commercial flights out of Lebanon. Cape Air also flies to/from Westchester County Airport to/from Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, initially for seasonal summer flights, which has since become year round; the company recently purchased four additional Cessna 402's to assist with the recent growth.

Cape Air was also looking to offer service on the west coast. Cape Air submitted bids to offer service between Newport and Portland in the state of Oregon; the airline was hoping to be selected by the Newport city council to receive a financial grant to jump-start the service.[8] Ultimately they lost out to SeaPort Airlines, which was able to get the service going sooner than the 2010 date that Cape Air had submitted.[9]

The airline also operated in the mid-Atlantic region. Cape Air provided scheduled flights from both the Hagerstown Regional Airport and the Lancaster Airport to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport ("BWI").[10] Service out of BWI ended in October 2012.

In September 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation selected Cape Air to fly a federally subsidized route connecting Augusta, Maine, and Boston. For serving the route, Cape Air receives an annual subsidy of $1.4 million from the federal Essential Air Service program, commonly known as EAS. Service to/from Augusta began in December 2010.[11]

Cape Air operates EAS Service from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to Kirksville, MO,Marion, IL, and Owensboro, KY.

Cape Air has held discussions with airport officials to offer service between Pittsburgh International Airport and Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pennsylvania and Erie International Airport in Erie, Pennsylvania.[12]

In May 2013, Cape Air named Linda Markham as the new President and Chief Administrative Officer.

In September 2013, the DOT selected Cape Air to provide EAS service between Billings and five communities in Eastern Montana, including, Sidney, Glendive, Glasgow, Havre and Wolf Point. Service in Montana started on December 10, 2013.

Cape Air carried 750,000 passengers in 2014 and offers up to 550 daily flights, for a revenue of $120M.[3] Cape Air is the largest independent regional airline in the United States, with new routes driving steady increases over time.

In 2016 Cape Air started flying from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Bimini, Bahamas.

On April 16, 2018, United Airlines announced the end of its partnership with Cape Air. Services ended on May 31, 2018, which marked the end of United Express operations in Guam, along with the retirement of the last turboprop aircraft in the United Express fleet.[13]


In early 2016 the company had cancelled flights citing a shortage of pilots; the Air Line Pilots Association disputed the existence of a pilot shortage instead citing low wages as the reason for the lack of pilots.[14]

Cape Air takes on pilots as co-pilots after 500-750h in entry-level roles like instructing, they are promoted to captain after 1,500h as first officers and they can join partners JetBlue or Spirit Airlines after 1,500h again in around two years. Cape Air also recruits pilots over 65, the mandatory retirement age for FAR Part 121 airlines, so long as they maintain a first class medical.[15]

Nantucket Airlines[edit]

Nantucket Airlines Cessna 402

In 1994 Cape Air merged with Nantucket Airlines. Since then, Nantucket Airlines has operated as a sister airline to Cape Air focusing on flights between Nantucket Memorial Airport and Barnstable Municipal Airport.[16]

Nantucket Airlines utilizes a small sub-fleet of Cessna 402C Businessliners/Utililiners painted in Nantucket Airlines livery.



Cape Air Cessna 402's below a JetBlue jetway


Since February 2007, Cape Air and JetBlue Airways have had an interline agreement; the agreement allows Cape Air to carry JetBlue Airways passengers from Boston's Logan Airport and San Juan to Cape Air's destinations throughout the Northeast, Florida and the Caribbean. The agreement allows customers on both airlines to purchase seats on both airlines under one reservation. Customers also get their baggage transferred and Cape Air and JetBlue Airways are located in the same terminal in Boston and San Juan which allows for an easy connection.

American Airlines[edit]

Cape Air and American Airlines announced a codeshare agreement for the Caribbean in February 2013; the cities served by the AA codeshare are Anguilla, Nevis, Tortola, Vieques and Mayaguez. In the Midwest, Cape Air and American have had a codeshare agreement since 2010, which allows passengers from Decatur and Marion, Il, Owensboro, KY, and Kirksville, Mo to connect in St. Louis, Mo.[17]


Cape Air Britten-Norman Islander

As of October 2019, Cape Air's fleet consists of the following aircraft:[18][19]

Type Fleet Orders Passengers Notes
Cessna 402 88 0 9 To be phased out. 9th seat is the unused co-pilot chair.
Britten-Norman Islander[20] 4 0 9 Operates in the Caribbean (Winter) and New England (Summer)
Tecnam P2012 Traveller 2[21][22] 98 9 To replace Cessna 402
Eviation Alice 0 TBA 9 To be the first use of an electric aircraft for passengers.

In November 2010, Cape Air announced that it was considering new aircraft types to replace the Cessna 402.[23] In April 2011, Italian Tecnam announced it will be producing the Tecnam P2012 Traveller;[24] the aircraft made its first flight in July 2016.[25] The first was delivered in March 2019.[15] Cape Air formerly utilized the ATR-42 for United Express operations in Guam. However, when United retired its propeller fleet, the partnership ended between the two airlines. Although Cape Air still owns and registers the aircraft, they are currently not used for any operations. At the 2019 Paris Air Show, Eviation Aircraft announced that Cape Air would add the electric Eviation Alice aircraft to their fleet.[26]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

Cape Air Cessna 402C
  • On January 30, 2001, a Cape Air pilot and his only passenger were injured when a Cessna 402C crashed just short of the Martha's Vineyard Airport on a flight from T. F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island.
  • On June 12, 2007, Cape Air CEO Daniel Wolf announced the grounding of all of Cape Air's 49 Cessna 402C aircraft nationwide, after three in-flight engine failures. The problem was blamed on premature wear on the crankshaft counterweight. All 402 services were canceled for two days while the counterweights were inspected and replaced as necessary. Normal service resumed about four days after the initial fleet grounding;[27] the FAA stated that they were monitoring repairs, but that all action taken by Cape Air was voluntary and not ordered by the FAA. "They elected to do the right thing for safety."[28]
  • On September 26, 2008, a repositioning flight with no passengers on board departed Martha's Vineyard at 8:05 pm en route to Boston. Shortly after takeoff from runway 33, the plane went down about two and a half miles from the airport, killing the pilot, who was the sole occupant.[28] Prior to this date, Cape Air had maintained a fatality-free record over its 18-year history.[29]
  • On January 22, 2009, a Cape Air 402C with six passengers aboard during a night flight from Key West, FL to Fort Myers, FL lost power in both engines as a result of fuel starvation due to faulty maintenance of the fuel selector. The aircraft made a successful emergency landing at Naples Municipal Airport.[30]


  1. ^ "President of Cape Air Seeking interns, to talk to students April 12". UNHToday. April 10, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  2. ^ Cape Air Appoints New President - Yahoo! Finance . (2013-02-14). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  3. ^ a b Hyannis Air Service, Inc., dba Cape Air (June 4, 2015). "Proposal of [Cape Air] to provide subsidized Essential Air Service To/From Lambert - St. Louis" (PDF).CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Press kit" (PDF). Cape Air.
  5. ^ Cape Air, Inc. "The Cape Air Story". Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  6. ^ Cape Air, Inc. (2010). "The facts about Cape Air". Cape Air. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Tobias, Lori (May 21, 2010). "Flap Over Newport Airport Ends in Lawsuit, Oregon Department of Justice investigation". The Oregonian. Oregon Live, LLC. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  9. ^ "Paid Registration Required". The Daily Astorian. East Oregonian Publishing Co. Archived from the original on September 22, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  10. ^ Schotz, Andrew (January 2, 2009). "Second Airline Chosen to Serve Hagerstown". The Herald-Mail; the Herald-Mail Company. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  11. ^ Shemkus, Sarah. "Cape Air lands new routes". Cape Cod Times. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  12. ^ Carroll, Jim (November 13, 2008). "Erie-to-Pittsburgh flights pondered". Erie Times-News. Cyberlink LP. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  13. ^ ""United to change flights between Guam and Saipan June 1"". April 16, 2018.
  14. ^ "Cape Air Cancels Flights, Cites Pilot Shortage". AVweb. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Murdo Morrison (April 1, 2019). "How Cape Air is recruiting pilots at both ends of the age scale". Flightglobal.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Wilson, Doug (October 30, 2009). "Code share agreement struck with Cape Air". Quincy Herald-Whig. Archived from the original on November 2, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  18. ^ "Cape Air About Us". Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  19. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  20. ^ "Cape Air to fly San Juan to Culebra, Virgin Gorda routes". News is my Business. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  21. ^ Oct 2; Daily, 2019 Graham Warwick | Aviation. "Cape Air Receives First Tecnam P2012 Travellers". Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  22. ^ O'Connor, Kate (October 3, 2019). "First Tecnam Travellers Delivered". AVweb. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  23. ^ "Cape Air studies three designs for Cessna 402 replacement". Retrieved November 10, 2010.
  24. ^ "Tecnam announces the launch of the P2012 Traveller" (Press release). Tecnam. April 13, 2011. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012.
  25. ^ "Tecnam P2012 Traveller takes flight". Flight Global. July 25, 2016.
  26. ^ Ltd, Eviation Aircraft. "Eviation Announces First Commercial Customer, Cape Air, For Its All-Electric Airplane, Alice". Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  27. ^ Cape Air grounded; Boat rescue; Barnstable crash; Harwich crash; Emergency landing; Dennis rollover Archived July 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ a b Howe, Peter J. (June 14, 2007). "Timing dulls sting of Cape Air grounding". Boston Globe.
  29. ^ "Investigators Seek Cause Of Cape Air Crash Archived September 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine." WCVB-TV. Posted September 26, 2008 - updated September 28, 2008.
  30. ^ NTSB Accident Report ERA09IA140

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°40′10.23″N 70°17′31.37″W / 41.6695083°N 70.2920472°W / 41.6695083; -70.2920472