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What are Feeder Airlines?
Feeder airline refers to the airlines that brings-in traffic from destinations that are not served by larger carriers to hub airports. These airlines are often regional carriers. Regional airlines and feeder airlines are harder to differentiate nowadays and are gradually becoming one model.
This usually is because of the lack of traffic to and from two city-pairs, therefore, feeder airlines concentrate on carrying passengers from less popular destinations to hub airports before the passengers carry-on with their journies. Therefore, there are usually codeshare agreements between the two airlines.
Examples of Feeder Airlines
A subsidiary of American Airlines. The airline feed traffic to and from the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico and the United States. American Airlines has full ownership in American Eagle but the flights are outsourced to other flight operators, who fully comply with American Airlines’ standards. This usually applies to feeder airlines who operate flights for their mainline airline. Examples of this would be United Express operating flights for United Airlines and Delta Connection for Delta Air Lines.
American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express all carry their mainline airlines’ livery.
A subsidiary of Cathay Pacific Airways. Unlike American Eagle, Cathay Dragon operates their flights themselves but they still feed traffic to their parent company - Cathay Pacific. The same model applies to SilkAir who is owned by Singapore Airlines. Their livery could be quite similar or could be completely different, but these depend on the airline.
A UK Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) with the headquarter at London Luton Airport. They focus purely on inter-European flights but the airline recently initiated a programme called “Worldwide by easyJet”, this allows passengers to fly with other airlines like Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Air Transat, Singapore Airlines and more.
Other airlines like Flybe and JetBlue have a similar initiative but not all allow you to collect frequent flyer programmes’ mileage when you are flying with them. However, they always have codeshare agreements with another carrier to feed traffic.