TRIBUTE TO COLGAN AIR
On September 5th, Colgan Air flew its last flight out of Newark as the carrier continues to wind down operations. Some of our newest members will say goodbye to their airline. While some begin a new phase of their career by transitioning to Pinnacle, others will be taking a different path entirely.
AFA Member and Colgan Flight Attendant Carmella Visconte wrote to her flying partners about Colgan’s shutdown and we would like to share some of her words with all AFA members today:
“For those of you who don’t know the history, Colgan Air is a family name that comes from Charles J. Colgan Sr. who first organized Colgan Airways Corporation in 1965 and by 1986 the airline operated nine aircraft to twelve cities from DCA and IAD. That same year Presidential Airlines bought Colgan but the airline later went out of business. In 1991, Charles J. Colgan, Sr. and his son Mike Colgan organized Colgan Air, Inc. and went back into business with one airplane. Since that time our little airline has provided service as a Continental Connection carrier, a US Airways Express Carrier and United Express. On January 17, 2007, Pinnacle Airlines Corp. acquired Colgan and by 2008 we had served more than 2.5 million passengers.
“Of course our most tragic moment was losing our friends on February 12, 2009 on Colgan flight 3407. We will always remember and honor:
- Flight Attendant Matilda Quintero
- Flight Attendant Donna Prisco
- Captain Marvin Renslow
- First Officer Rebecca Lynne Shaw
- Captain Joseph Zuffoletto, (off-duty)
“Each of these crew members brings extraordinary meaning to the work we do. And, the circumstances of this tragedy brought additional attention to our work as safety professionals. AFA has led the charge for decades to improve federal regulations that affect our work, improve the safety and health standards for our workplace and gain recognition for our work as certified Safety Professionals. I am grateful for the work AFA does as it supports my chosen career and I believe it also honors the lives of Matilda and Donna. We will never forget their sacrifice and we will work to honor them every day in our role as first responders.
“… I know all Colgan Flight Attendants are feeling the cloud of our airline soon closing its doors for good. It’s sad to be losing our Colgan name, but we will not lose the bond we feel as crew members.
“This is one of the reasons I am proud to be a member of the Association of Flight Attendants. AFA is all of us. I am sad to say good bye to Colgan, but I am grateful that I have hope for tomorrow with AFA. I am grateful for all of you and proud to work with you.”
Some of our Colgan sisters and brothers are opting to transition to flying at Pinnacle. Their interests in negotiating a single agreement and conducting seniority integration at the new Pinnacle will continue to be heard through the AFA Colgan Committee representatives. We offer our support and understanding to all Colgan AFA members and we are grateful for their contributions to our careers.