Pinnacle Airlines Celebrates 20 Years and Still Climbing!

MEMPHIS, TN — (MARKET WIRE) — 06/01/2005 — Pinnacle Airlines, Inc. (NASDAQ: PNCL) Pinnacle Airlines, a regional carrier doing business as Northwest Airlink, celebrates its 20th anniversary today. The airline, formerly known as Express Airlines I initiated operations on June 1, 1985, operating as Republic Express and provided service between the Republic hub at Memphis to Columbus, Miss.; Greenville, Miss.; and Monroe, LA; using 19-seat Jetstream 3100 aircraft. The airline expanded rapidly, adding the 33-seat Saab 340 aircraft to its growing fleet and expanding operations to Minneapolis – St. Paul. By June 1986 Express I was operating 27 aircraft.

In 1986, Northwest Airlines acquired Republic Airlines. As a result, Express I was transitioned to operating as Northwest Airlink. Over the next decade, the airline offered service to 56 cities in the Southeast and Mid-West and continued under private ownership.

In 1997, Northwest Airlines acquired Express I and transferred its Minneapolis flying to another Airlink operator, allowing Express to focus on its Memphis operation. Additionally, Northwest installed a new senior management team to renew the carrier’s course of action. Pinnacle’s People responded and posted an on-time arrival percentage of 90.6% for that year.

In May 1999, Express I announced its transition into the jet age when it was awarded flying for 42 Canadair Regional Jets by Northwest. On June 1, 2001, the Company’s first CRJ departed Memphis for Greenville, SC. Within a short period of time, the airline’s route structure grew to include all Northwest Airlines domestic hubs, including Detroit and Minneapolis – St. Paul.

In 2003, the carrier, which had changed it name to Pinnacle Airlines to more accurately reflect the company’s goals, underwent an IPO and became publicly traded on the NASDAQ exchange.

Today, Pinnacle Airlines and its 3,400 Pinnacle People operate 134 CRJs to over 104 destinations across the United States and Canada. Pinnacle’s route network is connected with over 730 daily flights and expands from Spokane, WA to Halifax, Nova Scotia and from Edmonton, Alberta to Fort Lauderdale, FL. The carrier expanded Available Seat Miles, a standard measure of growth in the airline industry, by nearly 791% between 1999 and 2004. Pinnacle transported 6.3 million Customers in 2004 and 2.3 million between January and April 2005. Since 1985, the carrier has provided transportation to over 24 million Customers. Pinnacle Airlines is one of the ten largest regional airlines in the world according to “Airline Business News.”

Over 1,400 Pinnacle People are located in Pinnacle’s home base of Memphis. Pinnacle and its People are strongly involved in the community, participating with organizations such as the Memphis Regional Chamber, the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Salvation Army, the Memphis Symphony, Dream Factory, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Leadership Academy.

Pinnacle has been frequently recognized by industry peers. Phil Trenary, Pinnacle’s CEO was named “Airline Executive of the Year” by Commuter / Regional News for 1998, and “Airline Strategist of the Year” for 2003 by Airline Business News. Pinnacle was also recognized by the FAA with its Diamond Award for Maintenance Excellence for three consecutive years. Pinnacle was also named “Regional Airline of the Year” in 2001 by Professional Pilot Magazine.

“Today marks a significant milestone in Pinnacle’s history,” said Philip H. Trenary, President & CEO of Pinnacle Airlines, Corp. “We have made our mark as one of the largest regional airlines in the world from the dedication and wisdom of our People and from the strong relationship we have with Northwest Airlines and other stakeholders. I’m so proud of our People and all they have accomplished at our airline. We are built on the foundation of being ‘Simply the Best’ and we will use that platform to fly into the next 20 years of success at Pinnacle.”

Pinnacle Airlines, Inc. operates under the name Northwest Airlink and provides service to destinations in the United States and Canada. Pinnacle operates an all-jet fleet of 134 Canadair 44 and 50-seat Regional Jets from Northwest hubs at Detroit, Memphis and Minneapolis – St. Paul and the focus cities of Indianapolis and Milwaukee. Pinnacle Airlines maintains its headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., and employs more than 3,400 People. For further information, please contact Philip Reed, Vice-President, Marketing at 901-348-4257, or visit our website at

Safe Harbor

This press release contains various forward-looking statements that are based on management’s beliefs, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to management. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable; it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Such statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those set forth in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available to investors at our web-site or on line from the Commission. Should one of more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove erroneous, actual results may vary materially from results that were anticipated or projected. The Company does not intend to update these forward-looking statements before its next required filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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