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Family Tree Spotlight: Republic Airlines

Feb 19, 2019

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The Delta Flight Museum is happy to announce a new temporary exhibition highlighting one of Delta's family tree airlines. The exhibition will be on view during 2019 and showcases the depth of our collection even beyond Delta Air Lines.

Republic Airlines

On July 1, 1979, North Central Airlines and Southern Airways merged to form Republic Airlines, the first airline merger to happen after deregulation. Republic was headquartered at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport though its largest hub was Detroit. In 1980, after the buyout of Hughes Airwest, Republic Airlines served more U.S. airports than any other airline.

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Republic Airlines operated 133 Douglas DC-9s, the most of any airline. Republic also flew 727s, 757s, MD-80s and continued to operate Convair 580 turboprops that had been flown by North Central. Republic used the “Herman the Duck” logo that was part of North Central’s livery and even introduced a mascot version of the aquatic bird.

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By 1986, the cost of mergers and acquisitions had taken its toll on Republic and it was acquired by Northwest Orient Airlines that year. After the merger Northwest dropped Orient from their name and used Republic’s hubs of Minneapolis, Memphis and Detroit to expand their domestic network. Republic became part of Delta’s family tree during the Northwest merger in 2008.


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  1. George Werderich | Feb 03, 2020

    Just a little comment on your history of Republic Airlines.

    The largest operation boarding by far the most passengers on Republic after the Southern and Air West mergers was Chicago O hare where North Central had the second most departures after   United.  When the original Republic management was replaced, the Chicago gates and landing slots were sold to AA and UAL. No city in the Republic operation ever originated as many passengers as ORD did prior to being de emphasized.

    George Werderich

    Retired Capt

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