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The 2003-2010 logo for Northwest Airlink.

Northwest Airlink was the trade name of Northwest Airlines' regional airline service, which flew turboprop and regional jet aircraft from Northwest's domestic hubs in Minneapolis, Detroit, and Memphis. Service was primarily to small-to-medium-sized cities and towns where larger aircraft might not be economical to operate and also to larger markets to either provide additional capacity or more frequent flights than could be justified using mainline aircraft. Beginning in July 2009, the Northwest Airlink trade name was phased out, and replaced by the Delta Connection trade name for Delta Air Lines as part of the Delta/Northwest merger.


Northwest Airlink was formed on December 1984 when Northwest Airlines took steps to enhance its domestic services by entering a marketing agreement with Mesaba Airlines. Mesaba at the time was the dominant airline serving Minneapolis/St Paul at the time. Under the agreement Mesaba would operate as Northwest Orient Airlink. The aircraft used by mesaba wear much smaller then Northwests domestic fleet, The mesaba airlines fleet was this at the time: 14 Turboprop Beechcraft 99s and 1 Fokker F.27. In 1985 Big Sky Airlines entered the agreement with 8-18 capacity aircraft. Northwest Jet Airlink was formed in 2009 to operate services with jets.

Northwest Airlink Saab 340B/Plus operated by Mesaba shortly after takeoff from Minneapolis St-Paul
A Northwest Jet Airlink CRJ-200
A BAe Jetstrem 31 operated by express airlines


Airline IATA code ICAO code Call sign Aircraft operated Parent
Compass Airlines CP CPZ Compass Embraer E170

Embraer E175

Northwest Airlines
Big Sky Airlines GQ BSY Big Sky BAe Jetstream 31 Northwest Airlines
Mesaba Airlines XJ MES Mesaba Bombardier CRJ-200

Bombardier CRJ-900

Saab 340

Avro RJ-85

Northwest Airlines
Pinnacle Airlines 9E FLG Flagship Bombardier CRJ-200 Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
Express Airlines II EXP Express Saab 340

BAe Jetstream 31

Northwest Airlines
Business Express HQ BUX BizzEx Saab 340 Northwest Airlines
Horizon Air QX QXE Horizon de Havilland Canada Dash 8-100

Dornier Do 328

Metro III

Fokker F.27-1000

Alaska Air Group
Pacific Island Aviation 9J PSA Pacific Island Short 360 Northwest Airlines
Fischer Brothers Aviation FB FBA Fischer CASA C-212

Dornier Do 228

Northwest Airlines

Since the Delta merger Compass is now owned by Trans States Holdings and Mesaba and Pinnacle Airlines Corp merged along with Colgan and became Endeavor Air.



Northwest Airlink service was operated using 34-seat Saab 340 turboprops and 50-seat Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft in a single class of service. Mesaba Airlines and Compass Airlines also operated Bombardier CRJ-900s and Embraer E175s, respectively. Both aircraft were operated in a 76-seat, two-class configuration.

Northwest Airlink previously operated Avro RJ85 jet aircraft in a 69-seat, two-class configuration before this aircraft type was retired from the fleet.[1] Other aircraft operated in the past by Northwest Airlink included various commuter turboprops such as the BAe Jetstream 31, Dash 8, Swearingen Metroliner, Beech 99, CASA 212 and Short 360.

Incidents and accidentsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^, Northwest Airlink Avro RJ85
  2. ^ NTSB report
  3. ^ NTSB report
  4. ^ NTSB Aircraft Accident Report, Crash of Pinnacle Airlines Flight 3701, October 14, 2004.

External linksEdit