Colgan Air began operation in 1965 as Colgan Airways Corporation. Charles J. Colgan Sr. started the company and it became the fixed based operator (FBO) at Manassas Airport in Virginia. In 1970 the company began scheduled airline operations between Manassas and Washington’s Dulles Airport and Poughkeepsie, NY under contract with IBM which was located in Manassas at that time.
By 1986 the company was operating nine aircraft to twelve cities from Washington National and Washington’s Dulles International Airports. In 1986 Colgan Airways was sold to Presidential Airlines. Five years later Presidential went out of business so Charles Colgan, Sr. and his son Mike Colgan organized Colgan Air, Inc. and resumed operations with one Beech 1900 aircraft.
In 1997 Colgan Air became a Continental Connection carrier for Continental airlines. In 1999 Colgan left the Continental system and became a US Airways Express carrier, focusing its routes around major US Airways stations such as LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Boston.
In 2005 Colgan announced it would acquire additional Saab 340 aircraft and resume service as Continental Connection out of Houston. Also in 2005 Colgan Air started providing flights for United Express out of Washington’s Dulles International Airport.
On January 18, 2007, Colgan Air, Inc. was acquired by Pinnacle Airlines Corporation for $20 million. Under the terms of the purchase, Colgan’s regional aircraft fleet will continue to operate independently of Pinnacle Airlines Corporation’s major subsidiary, Pinnacle Airlines, whose all regional jet fleet continue to fly and operate in the livery of a Northwest Airlink
Colgan operates 34 Saab 340 and 14 Q400 regional airliners, and has hub operations in Boston, Houston, New York, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Colgan Air employs more than 1,300 aviation professionals and transported nearly 2.5 million Customers in 2008.