Air Wisconsin Airlines was founded in Appleton, Wisconsin and began operations on August 23, 1965. Originally established to provide service between Appleton and Chicago, IL, the airline quickly grew beyond these borders and began providing service to multiple destinations.
Air Wisconsin pioneered the concept of code-sharing with United Express and rapidly became the nation's largest regional airline in the 1980s. In 1985 Air Wisconsin merged with Mississippi Valley Airlines and continued to operate under the Air Wisconsin name. In 1990 it acquired Denver based Aspen Airways and then was itself bought by United Airlines in 1993.
In late 1993 private investors purchased the airline from United Airlines. Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation (AWAC), while continuing to operate as United Express, developed a route network that stretched from Colorado to the eastern seaboard.
Air Wisconsin Airlines operates as the largest privately held regional airline in the United States. AWAC schedules nearly 500 departures per day system-wide to 26 states and two Canadian provinces. With service to approximately 70 cities throughout North America, AWAC carries nearly 6 million passengers per year.
AWAC works in partnership with US Airways, United Airlines, and Northwest Airlines. In addition to the flying services AWAC provides while operating 70 CRJ regional jets as US Airways Express, the airline is also a ground-handler for United Express and Northwest Airlines at over 30 locations throughout the country.