Click here to view this site's accessibility statement.
Your history of US Airways is incorrect. US Airways is still in existence. US Airways Express is a wholly own commuter subsidiary of US Airways. In 2005 America West Airlines bought out US Airways preventing a 3rd (and most likely fatal) trip into bankruptcy. The executives of AWA thought the larger carriers name had “better recognition” so they kept the name despite all the negatives associated with it.
admin said on November 16th, 2008 at 5:53 pm :
Thank you for your comment, Jerry. I think you’re referring to Allegheny Airlines, and there I was referring to its progression as USAir and then to US Air Express. US Airways still flies planes with the Allegheny logo on its tail, and I agree that it is not defunct. I hadn’t known about America West buying out US Airways, however. Thank you!
Interesting collection of old “friends” here. BTW, Muse Air’s demise was NOT bankruptcy. We were liquidated by Southwest Airlines. And yes, they did give us pink slips and told all of us to “hit the road”. (Contrary to their denials of ever ‘laying off’ anyone….
The Piedmont DC-3 is now fully restored and flying. Located at NC Transportation Muesum.
Not sure if you want to split hairs here, but technically Allegheny Airlines is not defunt. While it was rebranded as UsAir, then UsAirways, part and parcel it’s still the core of UsAirways. Allegheny aquired Mohawk, PSA, Lake Central and Piedmont. 2nd point depending on who you talk to “east” or “west” either USairways is defunct (except the name) as America West bought them and saved them. Or America West is defunct as Usairways merged with them.
mike said on June 24th, 2009 at 8:39 am :
Found your sight on Google and must say I loved reading the info and comments. The pictures brought back many memories from my childhood and often wondered what happened to some of these airlines that just seem to “disappear”….
Bob said on June 30th, 2009 at 11:09 pm :
This brings back a lot of memories. Still several missing that I worked for. Air New England, Precison Airlines, Five Star Airlines, Bar Harbor, and Allstar Airlines. Plus does anyone else remember the “Yellowbirds”? I think they were part of, or a gimick for Northeast.
Great story of Defunt Airlines
I’m trying to find out the name of an old airline, now out of business, that was owned by an American Indian. Anyone old enough to help me?
Nice compilation but you missed a few….
The former West Coast Airlines, Pacific Airlines and Bonanza airlines were acquired by Howard Hughes in the late 1960s (as I recall) and merged together as Hughes Air West. Hughes Air West was subsequently merged with North Central and Southern to form Republic Airlines.
There was also Pride Air, an airline started by a group of former Continental Pilots after the 1982 strike. It was based in New Orleans and flew 727s.
Finally, another of the early deregulation fatalities were Air One and MGM Grand whose ‘First Class’ business model did not last a full year. They flew 727s and DC-8s respectively.
I remember all these companies. When I first got on with Delta in 1961 I was in LAX, and then SAN. I remember when PSA (Pacific SouthWest Airline) started put wwith only four Lockhead Electra’s)
The picture of the Air Florida B737, if I am seeing it correctly, is N62AF a B737-200 Basic with JT8-9A engines, this was the Palm 90 aircraft that crashed in Washington D.C. on January 13, 1982.
If it isn’t, then it is N52AF a B737-200 Advanced with JT8-15 engines.
The caption regarding Midway Airlines is incorrect, the Airline was certified and began operations November 1979, I should know, I was one of the original employees of the Airlines. We had a GREAT time, unfortunately they went out of business after buying the Philadelphia operation of Eastern Airlines.
I worked for Jet America for a short time in Las Vegas. I trained in Long Beach, CA and I think that was their home base. What happened to them?
you left out flying tigers. great memories.. thanks
admin said on August 10th, 2010 at 7:52 pm :
Apparently Jet America, which ran between 1981 and 1987, was bought out by and merged into Alaska Airlines in late 1986. Somewhat ironically a similarly-named JetAmerica was supposed to provide $9 flights out of Tampa in 2009 but never made it off the ground.
One that would be nice to see in this article is North East Airlines. The infamous “Yellowbirds”.
Sure are a bunch of them aren’t there. I was with Eastern from 64 until its demise. Any news lately about its restart?
i enjoyed this website so much. I have flown on most of these airlines. It brought back great memories of the good old days (when I was much younger) with no responsibilities except for having fun and traveling. Thanks so much
Gary Miller said on August 11th, 2010 at 4:13 pm :
I worked for Ozark Air Lines, as a ramp rat in the late 60’s & 70’s, they were later bought by TWA and then to American. I might have some old pictures of the Ozark DC-3, FH227 and DC-9 laying around somewhere.
Later I flew for Mississippi Valley Airlines, they merged into Air Wisconsin Airlines in 1985.
Aspen Airways merged into Air Wisconsin in 1992.
Where is Northeast Airlines with their great Yellowbirds??????????(had wings clipped by Delta)- Can you please add?
As an Interesting Fact : On Jan 12, 1960, Maxine Reynolds Swarner was the first “Haolli” (caucasion) flight attendant hired by Aloha Airlines.
what about Howard Hughes airline?
While Delta acquired some of PanAm’s assets, most of them were acquired by United. In February 1986, United assumed Pan Am’s entire Pacific Division. Unite acquried most of the Atlantic and Latin American Divisions of PanAm in in 1991.
Joe Nedich said on August 14th, 2010 at 11:24 am :
As for Pan Am’ don’t forget United Airlines bought the Pacific Routes before the rest of the sale to Delta! JN
Capt Sal DeVincenzo said on August 14th, 2010 at 12:28 pm :
where is TRANS CRABBEAN AIRLINES, AMERICAN AIRLINES acuired them in 1971 that is how they got the cribian routes
georgia nielsen said on August 14th, 2010 at 4:02 pm :
Deregulation leaves a heap of destruction. The only three pictured that I see going “defunct” prior to deregulation of the airline industry in the USA are Central, Capital, and Mohawk.
National Air;ines did not go Bankrupt they were bought by Pan Am in 1980 - Pan Am went under because Delta Airlines back out of its Buy out in Dec 1992 - Delta gave some of Pan Am Employees A job.
J Border said on August 14th, 2010 at 11:06 pm :
Very interesting, but a couple comments…. I think Republic became Hughes Airwest or merged with another airline to become that. Then Hughes merged with Northwest at sometime after that…not United.
CP Air and Wardair are missing as well as Eastern Provincial
Why did you not include Northeast Airlines? The jets were famouly call “Yellowbitds” due to the yellow underbelly and tail. It originallly started sometime in the 30’s I believe as a cropduster airline in Monroe, LA.
Would love to see a piece on it and a picture.
Just a couple more of what I hope to see in a growing list.
Golden Gate, operated out of Monterrey Calif. (MRY) sometime in the mid 80′’s. Flying Shorts
Patriot airlines. A cargo carrier operating out of Stead airport, Reno Nevada. Sometime in the 90’s. Flying 727’s.
if there is a book on all these airlines would you send me the title & author?
Wow, great job and thanks for the memories!
I worked for a few of these airlines and a few others not mentioned here! There were around 300 airlines after “deregulation” that flew West and became a sad chapter in airline history books.
One of the airlines mentioned here is Tower Air.
I was the # one Captain on the seniority list when I was fired by the owner Moris Nakhtomi for “union activities!” He would always threaten to shut the airline down if we ever became unionized. He finally did what he had promised. After stealing $50 Million from the coffers!
The majority of these airlines went under because of bad or dishonest management.
Captain Ross “Rusty” Aimer (UAL Ret.)
Aviation Experts, LLC
San Clemente, CA
Marianne said on August 15th, 2010 at 12:44 pm :
United Airlines bought Pan Am”s International routes i believe in 1984 or 1985
Wasn’t there a small carrier that flew from Long Beach CA to Catalina Island?
#1 Yellow Birds were North East to become part of Delta
#2 West Coast/Pacific/AirWest joined to become Air West, later HUGHES Air West then merged with Republic Air which ealier was created by merger of North Central & Southern.
#3 North Central air was renamed from Wisconsin Central (Wiskey Air), started by FWD of Clintonville WI.
#4 Texas Intl was renamed from Trans-Texas.
#5 The TWA Midway Airport folks arrived one morning to find a Constellation a/c missing from its previous night ramp. Seems Howard Hughes needed to leave MDW, so he piloted out his big 4-engine plane.
#6 The May 1960 Official Airline Guide has USofA schedules for 13 Trunk, 13 Local Service Carriers & 3 Helicoper lines (NYC/CHI/LAX), plus some Intl Lines. Today of those 29 USofA air carriers, absent ‘re-branding, etc’, only 4 remain under their 1960 names.
PRIDE AIR WAS STARTED BY FORMER BRANMIF PILOTS
You forgot Ozark Airlines
I have developed a line graph showing
how these carriers have merged together
over the year. This would augment your history
pictures. Please contact if you are interested
You failed to include BONANZA AIRLINES and WEST COAST AIRLINES
Michael said on August 16th, 2010 at 2:14 pm :
Left off the only one I worked for: Ozark was a great little airline in STL consumed by TWA in 1986.
Started work at PHF 2 Jan 1959, with Capital
airlines, we had nothing that ran under its own
We had DC3s and DC4s, but we were so proud to working for an airline…..airport was also served by National and Piedmont….National had Convairs and later Electras, Piedmont had DC3
and made one engine stops….
Lots of fun back then, nothing like today…
I got my start with Capital, then to United, onto the advertising business as a NYC “Mad Man” on the following accounts — Eastern, TWA, National, Flying Tigers, and Tower Air. What a life !! On the Eastern account we went through 425 people in three years, including six VPs, mostly because of burn out or they didn’t pick up on the rythum of the account and quickly fit in. One CEO said, “this is a product that can kill you” (aircraft crashes) and these were the “gun slinger” days of airline management. Brilliant and decisive tough guys. Too bad they’re gone.
Don said on August 16th, 2010 at 7:20 pm :
I worked for tta/ti wa and muse. If I were a betting man the tail number on the NY Air a/c would be 308T/309T
Air One airlines our of STL in the early 80’s Ed Brookshire was VP of Ops and Lowell McAllister direction of operation. Fun operations
Northeast(one word) airline was originally Boston & Maine Airways, part of the Boston & Maine railroad. One of its original directors was Amelia Earhart. Correct me if I’m wrong. Great site though.
admin said on August 16th, 2010 at 9:48 pm :
Tom: Amelia Earhart was a vice president of National Airways, which conducted the flying operations of the Boston-Maine Airways (later to become Northeast) and several other airlines in the northeast.
Some more by-gone airlines include Cascade (Metro Liners) and Air Oregon, (Piper Navajos) Cochise, (Convairs) Imperial Airines,( C-402, EMB-110 and Short 360) Sunair(Metroliners), Western Pacific (West-Pac) B-737-300, Wien Air Alaska, Royal West (BAE-146), States West, (BE-1900), Morris Air (737) Mark Air (737) ….All bit the dust or were merged in one way or another and the list goes on…..
“Larry” is correct. Pride Air was started by Continental pilots, not Braniff as “John” states. (I worked for Pride Air. ) Also, what about Flying Tigers?
Pacific Express flew BAC-111 and B737-200 operated out of SFO and LAX with their headquarters based in Chico, CA. They attempted to restructure after UAL mirrored their strategy ultimately going defunct on Feb 2, 1984.
I have a model of almost 100% of these planes (and then some) in my museum.
Regarding Aloha the Air Cargo operation continued to operate as a new seperate company but Aloha Airlines as we knew it vanished after 62 years of service. A VERY SAD day!!
Can you find anything on ONA ? I flew DC-9’s & DC-8’s there between 1969 -1976. Also flew for the offshoot, United Air Carriers ( IUACI ) 1980- 1985….then along came Tower Air from 1986 - 2000….
Can you find anything on ONA ? I flew DC-9’s & DC-8’s there between 1969 -1976. Also flew for the offshoot, United Air Carriers ( IUACI ) 1980- 1985….then along came Tower Air from 1986 - 2000….
Great web site good job
White side up
How about ATA - American Trans Air - bankruptcy snapped up by Southwest and then shut down
very good put a Western picture in also.
Beautiful memories of ustabees. Might suggest a more complete cause and demise such as Icahn’s manipulation at TWA. There so many other examples of the greed that goes on in the “cash cow” airline industry.
Whoa Nellie! You have got some “facts” way off. First, Allegheny rebranded as US Air, period. Express was and is a separate franchised commuter setup, controlled by Allegheny. Piedmont merged into US Air.
Central Airlines was very profitable when it was acquired by Frontier. I wrote the history of that airline. The majority owner of Central saw a big profit and sold all his shares outright to Frontier’s parent company.
I think you will find that National Airlines (the original National in the sun colors) did not go bankrupt. I believe they were hostily taken over by Pan Am so the latter could get an instant domestic route system.
Byron Alexander said on August 17th, 2010 at 12:31 pm :
I used to be a flight attendaont on two defunct airlines. Forth Worth Airlines. We operated out of Mecham Field in Fort Worth Texas. The old Braniff execs ran it, which why we only lasted for 9 months. We had a fleet of 4 YS-11’s. Three of them flew while we robbed the 4th for parts. After bankruptacy, our flight crews were picked up by Mid Pacific Air. They moved us from Fort Worth to Las Vegas. Again using our old YS-11s, they wanted to be a low cost competitor to PSA, as gambling run airline. It didn’t last long. YS-11s are cheap to fly for a 60 passenger plane, but they are slow! Can’t compete with a jet. http://www.airliners.net/photo/Mid-Pacific-Air/NAMC-YS-11-107/0694381/L/&tbl=&photo_nr=2&sok=&sort=&prev_id=0694382&next_id=0694380
After working in DC for Air Transportation Assocations, which is now ARC, I knew most of these airlines from their old names. Thanks for sharing!
Interesting concept, this website, but the errors are rampant!. The first one visible when you land on the site, is the picture of the AirCal aircraft pictured at SNA. Its identified as a DC-9. WRONG, its a BAE-146. That could have been checked at airliners.net with the registration number
I began flying for Central Airlines in 1964. I see “Cause and result of demise: Bankruptcy. Sold to Frontier Airlines.”
I would like to correct that …. Central did not file bankruptcy … Central was purchased and merged with Frontier Airlines in 1967.
Paul Murray said on August 17th, 2010 at 2:28 pm :
Allegehny - US Air - US Airways
“Operated: 1952 - 1979
Cause and result demise: Rebranded as USAirways, then US Airways Express and then into Piedmont Airlines.”
The order of secession is wrong. Prior to Allegehny I think it was (AAA) All American Airways, then Allegehny, then US Air, Then several mergers (Mohawk-Piedmont-PSA), then the name change to US AIRWAYS, then two bankruptcies, then the merger with America West.
This is most fascinating to me because I worked for Charter Airlines first the went to work for Hughes Airwest/Republic Airlines/Northwest Airlines.
I would love to see something like this for the Charter Ailines. I went to work originally for Universal Airlines, then Saturn Airways, and lastly, TIA(Trans America Airlines).
Thanks - great pictures
Great look at a lot of airlines I work with or flew on you did miss Westernpacific airlines which started out of Colorado springs and had the Simpsons on one of their aircraft. Love to know mopre about your site
what about Key Air?
In 1968, Pacific Air Lines (where I worked) and
West Coast Airline and Bonanza Airlines m erg
to form Air West Air Lines. In a year or,
Howard Hughes bough this airline. Then changed the name Hughes Airwest.
Later, merged with Rebublic Airlines. then
Northwest. then Delta Airlines.
I believe that Delta and Ozark were the only two airlines that used it as two words in their name. Delta Air Lines and Ozark Air Lines. Other airlines that I can think of not on your list are: Zantop, Seaboard World, Flying Tigers, There also was another Capital other than the one that merged with United. Great Site have fun putting all the information together!
Metro Airlines………. It was the first airline to fly under the American Eagle banner and the last Eagle to be purchased by AMR and rolled into AMR’s American Eagle.
How could you forget Chicago & Southern Airlines which merged into Delta ineither 1952 or ‘53 ? They operated “Dixieliner Service from Chicago through the Mississippi Valley to N.O. and into the Carribbean. They operated DC-3, Convair 340, and Lockheed Constellations at the time of the merger and I think had an interchange with TWA operating Martin 404’s Detroit to Houston. They had pilot bases at Memphis, which was headquarters, New Orleans and if I’m right about the TWA interchange, a very small base at Houston.
I was a pilot for Southern Airways, Republic Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Delta. I notice that Hughes Air West (several remarked on that omission, I see) and Northwest did not make the list! Why not? DEFUNCT!
In the mid 90’s I worked for Private Jet out of Atlanta. They flew a 727 and leased new MD-80’s to fly tourists to the Caribbean and Mexico.
They semed to do a great business in the winter months always flying full out of Chicago. I believe this charter outfit was started by former Eastern employees. Even though it was a new upstart It was a good company to work for for the short time I was with them.
Iflew from Houston toLake Charles on Trans texas and returned 4 days later on Texas International. Seems they added Monterray Mxwhile Iwas gone.
Thanks for the memories. Enjoyed them all. Some others you may want to add to the lore:
•Seaboard World Airways, acquired by Flying Tigers in 1980; Tigers in turn acquired by FedEx in 1988.
•Ozark (2nd incarnation) operated 2 Dornier Do-328 turboprops as Great Plains Airlines, based in Tulsa, OK, from 2001 to 2004.
•Skybus Airlines, an ultra-low-cost airline with a unique business model, based in Columbus, OH, operated 12 Airbus A319s from 10/07 until they ceased operation in 4/08.
AirCal was a growing, successful airline when it was merged into AA in 1987. It never ceased operations and was hiring pilots & flight attendants at the time of the merger. Three other airlines (USAir, which bought PSA), Delta (which bought Western), and Continental were looking to buy AirCal during that period. Robert Crandall of AA said he bought AirCal so nobody else could.
Retired Captain, AirCal & AA
It was Delta that started as a crop dusting
business in Monroe, La.
Fact check needed re: Eastern Airlines. I believe their demise occurred before 1991.
And very interesting, keep up the good work and please let me know when your updates are published.
Never realised that PSA flew L-1011’s, on what route were they used on ????
Robert G. Brown
National Airlines did not fail because of bankruptcy. It had one of the healthiest balance sheets in the industry. Pan Am, who wanted a domestic system, paid a very high price for a very successful domestic and international airline. Subsequently, Pan Am sold off various international routes before the last of it was integrated into Delta.
Their are a lot of erroneous statements throughout this site, foremost of which, was Allegheny was re-branded as US Airways and then US Airways Express.
Allegheny merged with US Air. Also Piedmont Airlines also merged with US Air(ways). Piedmont Aviation was also the parent company of Piedmont Airlines and operated after the merger. Moreover, Texas International did not take over Continental. The latter took over Texas International during the early years of Southwest Airlines rise to the top.
I am not aware of Presidential merging with Pan Am.There were numerous other airlines not mentioned such as America West, Action, Precision, Business Express, Bar Harbor, Command, PBA, Best, Marco Island, Naples, Florida Express and Florida West, Air Atlanta, ATA, American International, Air Caribbean, Bonanza, West Coast, Jetstream, Northeastern International, Carnival, Skywest, and Hughes Air West, Jet Express, Leisure Air, Legend, Mackey, Panagra, Pro Air, Pioneer, Ransome, Reeve Aleutian, Wien, and Sunworld International, just to name a few. In all, one might double the number cited above (see “Defunct airlines” on Wikopedia.
Looking at the TWA 707 can anyone tell me if it is a 131 or a 331 model?
admin said on August 18th, 2010 at 9:54 am :
@Tom Mealie: Tail number N772TW indicates that it’s a Boeing 707-331.
PBA - Providence-Boston Airlines didn’t make your list. I would catch them, I think from JAX to EYW. Loved riding those tail draggin’ DC-3s.
were is the yellow banana Hughe air
Elva Anderson said on August 18th, 2010 at 11:42 am :
Where is Pacific Northern Airlines which operated between PDX/SEA and many Alaska destinations? I worked for them 1955-1987 until they merged with Western Airlines.
Thanks for bringing back some old and very fond memories from my 29 plus years in the airline business. During those years, I wrote or typed most of the 2 letter airline codes of these carriers to book reservations or write tickets. Funny how most have stuck in my mind and I’ve been retired 15 years. I started my career with American Airlines at GSW (Fort Worth) and ended it at our ticketing headquarters built on the same property nearby. Most of my life long friends have an airline background and I cherish those days of shared experiences.
Please correct and maintain this interesting website so we can visit our old friends often. By the way, I did not see Swift Air (out of California) listed.
Carolyn Todd Williamson
‘95 retiree AA
TTA (TRANS TEXAS AIRWAYS) WAS THE ORIGIONAL BEFORE TEXAS INTERNATIONAL. I BELIEVE IT WENT TO TEXAS INTERNATIONAL AFTER IT FIRST FLIGHTS TO MEXICO.
I WENT DOWN THE TUBE WITH A COUPLE OF THEM. CONT (TTA TXI),EMERALD AND TRANS STAR
Thank you for putting this interesting website together.
Don’t forget about Hughes Air West and their ugly all yellow and purple airplanes
Jay H said on August 18th, 2010 at 1:59 pm :
You forgot MarkAir, the airline whose intense competition caused Alaska Airlines to cut back permanently on Alaska’s fantastic meal services. I was on the Long Beach to Seattle AS run the morning in 1992 that AS notified its crew and passengers that meals would now be ordinary, not extraordinary. A truly sad day.
The airline began its life as Interior Airways in the late 1940s carrying cargo throughout the state of Alaska. In the late 1960s the airline bought Lockheed L-382 Hercules aircraft to service construction of the Alaska Pipeline. In the 1970s it changed its name to Alaska International Air to reflect its international charter business. In 1982 Alaska International Air bought a regional passenger/cargo airline named Great Northern. In 1984 new colors and the name MarkAir (reportedly named after a newsboy named Mark) were brought to the airline as it inaugurated passenger/cargo service from Anchorage to the Alaska bush communities of Barrow, Bethel, Dillingham, Fairbanks, King Salmon, Kotzebue, Nome, and Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse. The airline had purchased Boeing 737-200 combination cargo/passenger aircraft to operate these services.
In the mid-1980s MarkAir and Alaska Airlines entered into a codesharing agreement with MarkAir operating as Alaska Airlines to the communities of Dillingham, Dutch Harbor, Barrow, Aniak, St. Mary’s and Alaska Airlines feeding MarkAir from its routes from Seattle and other “lower 48″ destinations. In the late 1980s MarkAir bought several air taxis (airlines operating small six to nine seat aircraft from larger communities such as Bethel to Alaska’s Native villages) and purchased several Beechcraft 1900 aircraft; and under the name of MarkAir Express operated new service from Anchorage to Cordova, Aniak, McGrath, Dillingham, King Salmon, Galena, Unalakleet, Kodiak, Kenai, Homer and Valdez. By 1990 MarkAir was the State of Alaska’s largest airline.
In 1990, Alaska Airlines abruptly cancelled its codesharing agreement with MarkAir and MarkAir inaugurated service to key Alaska Airlines markets such as Anchorage-Seattle, Anchorage-Juneau-Sitka-Ketchikan-Seattle, Seattle-Los Angeles, Seattle-San Francisco and Seattle-Portland. In 1992 the airline expanded its Lower 48 route network to include Seattle-Chicago/Midway and Denver. However the head-to-head competition with Alaska Airlines caused MarkAir to find itself in bankruptcy by the end of 1992. In 1993 MarkAir restructured itself as a “low fare” carrier and cut most routes out of Seattle with the exception of Seattle-Anchorage and Seattle-Los Angeles. The airline began a hub in Denver and serviced various West Coast, Midwest and Southern cities. In 1994 city and business officials from Denver, Colorado hoped to persuade MarkAir to move its headquarters to Denver.
In 1995 faced with bankruptcy again, the airline cut all jet services within the state of Alaska and concentrated on its Denver hub, the new MarkAir headquarters. MarkAir Express continued services within the State of Alaska taking over all of MarkAir’s jet routes. In 1996 MarkAir was forced to shut down. MarkAir Express remained until 1997 and was reorganized into the all-cargo carrier Alaska Central Express.
MarkAir’s assets were purchased in bankruptcy by the private equity firm Wexford Capital Management, the majority owners in control of the present day Republic Airways Holdings.
Your reason for demise on National Airlines is incorrect. You listed Bankruptcy then merged with Pan Am. National did not go bankrupt. Instead, it was a highly profitable airline that Pan Am acquired, which itself later went bankrupt. National Airlines itself was a thriving carrier until Pan Am took over. Pan Am’s managers’ mindset was international and didn’t know how to compete domestically - and the Lockerbie crash put them out of business
Have you forgotten Trans Caribbean Airways, Antillies Air Boats or Puerto Rico International Airlines (PRINAIR)?
Lou said on August 18th, 2010 at 3:41 pm :
There’s a great little book called “Airlines for the Rest of Us”: The Rie & Fall of America’s Local Service Airlines, by Stan Solomon, Airways Magazine. Covers history of how the locals came about after WWII, and “biographies” on each airline. Covers Allegheny, Central, Frontier, Lake Central, Mohawk, North Central, Ozark, Pacific, Piedmont, Pioneer, Southern, Trans-Texas, West Coast, and explains a bunch of the mergers. Anybody who worked for an airline between 1945 and 1965 will enjoy this little book. sold by Airways Magazine for a modest $6 For info,
ALSO - Please add Mid-Continent Airlines, which was bought by Braniff in the 1950s. Thanks !much!
I had SO much fun with these memories. I’m glad someone corrected the error about National Airlines having NOT filed bankruptcy.
I worked for both National Airlines as well as PanAm after the “merger” /buyout of National.
It’s amazing as one moves down through the photos: Didn’t your heart jump a bit when you saw the photo of “yours”?
thank you all for the fun & interesting memories..
It was N7 that, unfortunately, went into bankruptcy. Why no photos?
There was a C&S Airlines (Chicago and Southern) that merged with Delta in 1957, For a short time Delta was known as Delta-C & S Airlines.
Actually, Reno Air began operations on 1July1992. Great airline and really fabulous people (many of whom were Midway Airlines orphans). I was associated with it from inception to final integration with AA. I retired from AA in 2006 after the company closed the Reno MX facility.
Everyone at Reno Air had a real “can do” attitude from Capt. Bob Reding (CEO) all the way down to the least paid staff member. It was a real pleasure and honor to work with everyone at Reno Air and American Airlines.
where is reeves air aluetian RAA….
Great to look at all the photos, but you forgot about Air South located in Columbia, SC. I knew a few people that worked for them. Great little
airline. A lot of the staff were former Midway people too.
Trans-Texas Airways also gained the dubious nickname of “Try That Airport” after one of its planes landed at the wrong airport in S.E. Texas.
GREAT JOB. Cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the pics!! Really appreciate your work! Husband used to fly for Muse Air…a great airline!
Well, I guess you need to add Northwest Airlines, since they were taken over by the Delta merger.
Frontier Airlines, it was aquired by Texas Air which owned Continental Airlines, it was then merged into Continental along with Peoples express and New York Air. Texas International was also wentr into the CO name.
National Airlines, Texas Air bought (I believe) Ten Million Dollars of shares of National and
made an offer for to buy National but they
chose Pan Am instead. Texas Air sold shares to Pan Am, for a profit then they went after Continental. That money that Frank Lorenzo used was (earned for Texas International being on strike 11/74 til 3/75. Thanks, Wayne
retired TTA/TI/CO EMPLOYEE
cher pharis said on August 19th, 2010 at 12:05 am :
this was so “bring you back” moments
History behind the name change from Trans-Texas Airways to Texas International Airlines.
TI changed name when they started flying into Tampico and Veracruz, Mexico from McAllen, Tx.
with CV600 40 passenger A/C, (old CV240). from AA.
I began my “big” airplane flying with East Coast Aviation that flew DC-3’s out of Washington National. It was formed by some Capital pilots who didn’t want to go to United when they were bought out. That was in 1963 - from there I went to Hawaiian where I flew until my retirement in 1994.
While flying between HNL and SFO we had a number of communications problems with an air carrier who started and failed in just a few years. They were called Air Hawaii and they used the same flight numbers as our Hawaiian Air. On one flight from HNL to SFO, I was asked to call OAK center on a land-line when I landed. I did so and was asked why I didn’t fly the flight plan that I had accepted. It turned out that the culprit was the pilot of Air Hawaii 12 and not us - Hawaiian Air 12.
Air Hawaii didn’t last too long.
What about all the chater airlines? Flying Tiger, Saturn Air Transport, Global Internationa, Capital Air, Airlift International, Arrow Air, and many more…..
None operating today.
I didn’t see Wright Airlines. It operated, mainly between Detroit and CLE with Convairs. I believe it went bankrupt in the mid 80’s.
In 1968, there was a feeder airline, named Metro Airlines. It flew between several airports ( IAH, HOU, EFD) It ceased operations, in 1973, do to low Load Factors.
The airline flew Twin Otters.
Wow, I have seen some interesting histories here about US Airways. Allegheny Airlines merged with Mohawk I believe in the late 60s. It rebranded itself as UsAir in 1977 or so. It had established the feeder system of Allegheny Commuters in the 70s. I flew for one of them. It later merged with PSA and Piedmont and retained it’s name then changed to US Airways under Steven Wolf. America West bought US Airways several years ago and kept the name US Airways which better fit the operations mission. Piedmont is one of the feeders for US Airways but is not the same company as the one which merged with US Air. I think I have that all correct. I am sure if not someone will tell me. Also, North Central merged with Southern in 1979 to become Republic. In 1980 it merged with Hughes Airwest. In 1986 we merged with Northwest Orient to become Northwest. Now we are Delta. I started in 1978 with North Central and now fly for Delta after 4 mergers.
National Museum of Commercial Aviation
If you think back and wonder why, where these airlines have gone. STOP, think about the corporate crooks that are still around that ran those airlines into the ground for personal profit, totally ignoring the hard working employees of each of these airlines.
Carl Ichn The #1 Thief “Owner of TWA”
What a beautiful airlines it WAS…..
John Willimas said on August 19th, 2010 at 11:13 am :
What about Maxjet? operated for about 1.5 years and folded on Christmas eve 2008. Refurnbished 727 with all business class between New York & Standstead UK. Incredible service, incredible experience but killed by the fuel costs.
What is the story on the airline Paul Eckle started after the Continental bankruptcy?
Re: Pan Am’s demise. The high price paid for National was not the major cause of Pan Am’s failure though there are some who like to make that claim.
In his book, Pan Am: An Aviation Legend, Barnaby Conrad contends that the collapse of the original Pan Am was a combination of corporate mismanagement, government indifference to protecting its prime international carrier, and flawed regulatory policy.
Pan Am had huge bond issues in the market that paid between 8.5 and 12.5% interest. It is not possible to survive with that kind of debt load.
julianne said on August 19th, 2010 at 1:41 pm :
your 18aug2010 posting @0724, asked for a fact check. eastern mgmt was notified at 2030/18jan91 during a conference call that there was a man standing at your tkt ctr. with a package, please go get it and bring the package and pinkerton guard back to your office. in it was a 52 page manual on how to shut down a station…..so our airline went under that nite at midnite….i know i was there. a fact you didn’t know i’m sure is in the next six months after that call, there were a veriied 265 suicides………..
You have forgotten the Best of the Best. PACIFIC NORTHERN AIRLINES!!!! Plus NORTHERN CONSOLIDATED, WEIN, AND REEVE ALEUTION AIRWAY!!! Alaskans were much more dependent on these airlines for everything than people in the LOWER 48 were on their local carriers.
A lot of good history of the airlines since the 20’s. I have a picture of me and Earl with a DC-3 Ford. I will try to find it to send to you.
mario mayorga said on August 19th, 2010 at 4:02 pm :
After 32 years with TWA and 4 involved with kitchens catering for the airlines I still miss the friends and interesting events tha we had. Airlines workers have many things in common like mandatory overtime, double shift, pay concesions, work on holydays etc. and at the end we survive. We are like a family and our ID is recognized all over the world. - Visit http://WWW.WACAnorthamericaregio.com click Mario Mayorga on a mission.
Whatever happened to TALOA, an airline based out of Oakland airport Ca.They had a round trip from OAK to Honolulu for 99 dollars. I didn’t expect it to last very long.
Dai said on August 19th, 2010 at 6:31 pm :
I watched the movie “Bullit” the other day. In one scene the good guy is pursuing the bad guy on the tarmac of SFO. They are dodging between taxiing A/C. Not one of the airlines shown still exisits.
Arthur Speegle said on August 19th, 2010 at 9:33 pm :
In the middle 1950’s a Intrastate carrier operated in Tennessee. It flew DC3’s and later Convair 240’s. It served Kingsport, Knoxville,Chattanooga, Nashville, Jackson, Memphis, Dyersburg and Union City. It was called Southeast Airlines with home offices in Kingsport.
Just a couple of observations:
I would question National being the “first exclusively jet powered air service in the US”?
The claim for Chicago Air and the Fokker F-27 may be correct but I don’t think the picture is of a F-27 (my recall is the F-27 was an overwing aircraft operated in large part by Ozark Airlines.
Finally, to limit the comments about TWA to the “moon” thing in California is sad - this was the airline of “firsts” and truly the airline of the stars - there are so many stories to be told about TWA that this page would have trouble holding them - a proud airline and proud employees.
I remember one that is not included. Chicago & Southern Airlines. Also known as C&S Airlines. If I remember corectly, it merged with Delta in the early 1950’s, giving Delta a route or routes into Chicago. One route I remember was from New Orleans to Chicago.
Prin Air puddle jumped all the islands SJU to St Thomas and on.
Carbi Air used DC-3 tail draggers to do there hops
Pan Am Bus Jet out of Steward
NY Airways helicopters landed on Pan Am building, lost left wheel down the building
i started airline work in 1956 at eal/mdw, retiring in 2008 from aa/mia, so i’ve seen most of these airlines and ridden on lots. it’s been a hellova ride! was capital mentioned with their viscounts?
One that I don’t see on your list is Air Atlanta. First class only, flew B727’s, ATC identifier was CRB
To “John’s” comment re: Pride Air Aug.15,2010 - Pride Air was an effort by former CAL pilots - not Braniff pilots. I was the the proud owner of one share of stock and awaiting a class date.
Very interesting! What about Lake Central Airlines - 1950-1968 - merged with Allegheny?
These are great. I remember the early 50s when “big” DC-3s flew over our farmhouse with AAA on the bottom of the wings. All American Airlines became Allegheny which is now USAirways. This was my stimulation. In later years for Eastern Airlines I did technical acceptance for some new L-1011s and the first N-registered A300 to come to the USA.
United Airlines bought PanAm’s pacific routes and hired many pilots, flight attendants and pacific station personnel. They were very valuable in helping United transition into a true international airline.
Dave Face said on August 20th, 2010 at 2:37 pm :
Fantastic site (even with the errors) but not one single non sked airline inclluded. They operated right after WW II with surplus war military transports. The photos are great and I enjoyed all of them. I’d never exchange my airline experiance for any other life.
I am a TWA retiree of 1959/1990 vintage.
Ex Hughes Air West, Republic, and Sunworld International Airways
I did not see “Golden West Airlines” ‘a regional commuter using DeHavilland Twin Otters, mostly around the LA basin. I flew about 6oo hours with them as first officer in the late ’60’s, leaving to fly with PSA in San Diego.
Worked for TWA, TI, CO, PSA and US. Every one I started with went broke or was acquirred. Maybe its my fault!!
what about “Song”? The best airline…..
kathy said on August 20th, 2010 at 7:04 pm :
what about “Song”? Best airline ever…..
Bob Brown asked about the PSA L-1011 route:
Non-Stop SAN-SFO for $19 +/- ??
Long Live AirCal…………….
steve said on August 20th, 2010 at 9:53 pm :
How about Prinair, Chaulks, Altair, Royal Hawaiian, Marco Airways, Air Sunshine, Taca, Sasha, (good ole Latin American Airlines), World Airways, BOAC, BEA, SwissAir, Sabina, Trans Texas, Aspen, Atlantis, Virginia Air, Tennesse Airways, All Nippon, AeroPeru, Sunbird,Air North, Im sure many more…keep up the list…neat…
Your informative narratives/photos, including all the respectful airline personnel comments were refreshing. This brought back so many memories of my 10 plus years with Western Airlines and my 15 plus years as AFA’s safety director for many of those airlines included in your delightful collection. Keep us informed as to publication of this information and thanks for the memories.
Question: Are you sure about the Western/Air Florida connection? Air Florida went under after the 1982 accident.
bushpilot said on August 21st, 2010 at 1:06 am :
Was there a airline called Wien Air Alaska or Wien Consolidated?
Worked for Eastern Airlines for 28yrs. Was the best job I ever had. Met some of the friends I still have today. That was back in the days when you were all a family.
Anyone remember “United Air Carriers”? Or howsabout “Zantop”, who flew in overhauled R-2800s and R-3350s to NWA in MSP
Forgot Morris Air! I worked for them in early 90’s in CO Springs right before SWA bought them. Great people; great experience!
Bob Berkebile said on August 21st, 2010 at 8:55 am :
Allegheny Cause and Result Demise should read…
Rebranded as USAir and now USAirways.
Piedmont was merged into Allegheny.
Also, Lake Central Airlines is missing from your list of airlines gone by. They also were merged into Allegheny.
Thanks for the memories…loved it.
Reb Stimson said on August 21st, 2010 at 9:06 am :
Wow, it is mind boggling how many airlines disappeared during the past fifty years. If one goes back even further to the 20’s & 30′S there were more mergers and failues then also. Let’s not quibble over minor details, this is a great trip down memory lane. I was lucky enough to be at AA for almost 36 years (32 pilot, 4 instructing) back during the “Glory Years” beginning in the 60’s. Thanks for the effort to bring this out. Av8Reb@aol.com
Nice to also see some “old friends” like Jim Gross and others responding on this site.
terry kane said on August 21st, 2010 at 10:44 am :
WHAT ABOUT LAKE CENTRAL
Please give me information on Air Illinois.
Sun Valley Airlines and Magic Carpet airlines flew the Hollywood crowd from Salt Lake to Sun Valley, Idaho as well as the “mini-liners” from Airwest Airlines. It seems another airline called “Rich Airlines” owned by Ed Rich flew to Sun Valley. What a blast it use to be working for the airlines….it was such a “fix” that I believe you would have worked for them free gratis. I’m an ole Hughes Airwest Guy.
j Walker said on August 21st, 2010 at 12:12 pm :
PANAGRA airlines was a U.S. owned airline (Pan American airlines and Grace shipping co owners). The airline adverised it was the “friendliest airline” and primarily flew routes along the west coast of S.A. The airline initially only had S.A. routes as far north as Panama as Pan Am’s interests were the east coast of S.A. to the U.S.. Later PANAGRA operated flights all the way up to N.Y. and as far west as San Fracisco They were acquired by Braniff (1969). It would be nice to see them on your site!
Many fond memories of my husband’s 37 years with United. Recall some nicknames–Teeny Weeny for TWA, Bring Over American Cash for BOAC, Air Chance for Air France, and I still use the phrase “blue room” for a bathroom. Fun and interesting site. Thanks.
WOW–THIS WAS VERY INTERESTING READ..I AM AN EX EASTERN AIRLINE EMPLOYEE….IT SURE DID MAKE ME THINK OF A LOT OF THINGS THAT HADN’T CROSSED MY MIND IN SEVERAL YEARS & I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!! THANKS AGAIN…..
Jared Howe said on August 21st, 2010 at 3:06 pm :
I am tired of hearing that Eastern went out of business because of bankruptcy. Eastern was put out of business by Frank Lorenzo on purpose. He destroyed Eastern to build up his other Scam operated Airline, Continental. He put Eastern into Bankruptcy and Liquidated the assets. Continental at the time was the countries 14th largest airline. Eastern was the countries 2nd largest airline. He took from Eastern (a Unionized carrier) and moved assets to Continental (non-union) and built them up the nations 5th largest in size while destroying Eastern. What Continental didn’t want or couldn’t use, Lorenzo sold off to other carriers like American, Donald Trump, etc. The Eastern Shuttle for example is now split between Delta and USAir. Put them both together and it was the Eastern Shuttle. I worked for Eastern for 18 years, and retired from British Airways… Eastern didn’t go bankrupt by itself…. it was put in bankruptcy on purpose and liquidated for Continental’s benefit. All Continental is today is Eastern without the Eastern people. I hope the merger of Continental and United goes well, but I want the Continental name to disapper. Do I sound bitter….???? Yes. I am. Eastern was a great airline with great people. Lorenzo, I hope you rot in hell you S.O.B.
I was Delta’s District Sales Manager at EWR from 1966 until 1992. Your site really brings back some great memories of a much happier time in the airline industry. Back when, although their was fierce competition between carriers, there was also a very strong bond and sincere camaraderie between all airline employees. You would do all you could to steal away airline X’s and airline Y’s passengers during the day and then meet airline X’s and airline Y’s folks after work for a softball game and a few beers. Thank you very much for sharing this site with we former airline folks.
You forgot to list America West Airlines. They had a few painted up planes.
I want to thank you for all the research that has supported my empirical suppositions:
I personally, have managed during a somewhat sporadic career, to steer into the bankruptcy morass, three, count em three, of these fine dinosaurs of aviation endeavors: Pan Am (Aka pandemonium) NWA (Aka cobra airlines, we strike at anything) and finally good ole EAL (Why yes, I can run an Airline, Friendly Frank and the guy from American AA and Airtran, forklift Joe.)
Couple more goners for you -
I saw a letter mention a mainland Mid Pacific Airways - They also flew YS-11s in Hawaii mid-late 80s, now long gone.
SPIA South Pacific International Airways (Airlines?) Same time period had 2 beautiful 707s out of Honolulu plus Twin Otters in Samoa.
I also would like to see a little more detailed history in your great lineup. Those were super days. Thanks.
A neighbor (and Mom) of one of my childhood friends was a former Air Hostess for Trans World Airlines back in their “glory days”, circa mid-
1940-’s. She told fascinating stories to us kids about the many celebs she’d met in the course of her “air hostess” duties including the Big Band singer Johnny Desmond who remained one of their cherished family friends. My neighbor said the “pet name” for TWA was “Teeny Weenie Airlines”!
I was almost convinced that commercial air travel would grind to a halt when “the BIG one” TWA stopped service several years ago. Had almost the same reaction when PAN-AM quit, too. Guess it didn’t “make the going great” after a while!
Everything changes, I guess.
Thanks for the memory stirrers.
What about Air Atlanta? Great airline, with real china, your own crystal salt/pepper shakers, competitive pricing, and a free RT ticket for every five you bought…probably why they went under!
As I remember, Chalks Airlines of Miami, FL had service to the Bahamas & flew only Grumman amhibs: the Goose, Mallard (piston & turbo-prop) & in later years, the “G-SA-16/G-111 “Albatross”. An inflight failure of a “Mallard” wing ended Chalks Airlines a few years ago.
Air Florida began with a single B707/720 with service from PIE-MIA and quickly got a few Lockheed “Electras” before procuring B737s (some from UA) & B727s. At one point, they had ex AS & BI B727s in use. They also had a couple of DC-10s for MIA-LGW service. After the demise of AF, the B737 operation formed the core of ML’s MIA/FLL base.
In 1989, ML purchased Chap. 11 EAL’s PHL hub & approximately DC9-31s from aviation’s ‘dear friend’ Frank L. The ex-EA DC9-31s powered by JT8-D-7 engines could not fly a full pax load to NYC/PHL/DCA out of MDW on hot summer days.
EA had a group of 25 B-727-200s, owned by Greyhoud Bus Lines, which were powered by JT8-D-7 engines. On a hot summer day, with a full 12/137 pax load, they could not make it non-stop from DCA-ATL and would flag stop in RIC for fuel! Talk about economy.
Scott Crosier said on August 22nd, 2010 at 3:13 am :
Another airline to be added:
USAfrica Airways. For some basic information, see Wikipedia as follows:
US Africa Airways was a United States based airline that operated flights between Washington Dulles International Airport (then called Dulles International Airport) and Johannesburg in starting in June, 1994. Flights refueled in the Cape Verde Islands. Later, once a week flights were added to Cape Town, which also refueled in the Cape Verde Islands.
The airline was the first U.S. airline flying only international routes since the U.S. airline industry was deregulated in 1978.
The airline operated flights from June 1994 to February 3, 1995.  It leased two McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft from American Airlines, registered as N1757A and N1757B. 
Midway Airlines was formed in 1976 but it did not operate until it flew its first revenue flight on November 1, 1979. I would mention that Midway was the first scheduled airline to be federally certificated after deregulation was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Carter.
Magnificent compilation. You shud make a book out of it. A nice coffee-table tome! I’d add a few lines about each airline’s major routes.
Missing: Provincetown-Boston Airline (no “s” in Airline). Flew the amazing DC-3 right up to the end. Moved its entire operation to Florida during the winter.
It will be interesting to see your write-up about Continental Airlines and United. United Airlines keeping ther name for the Airline, The Continental Airlines LOGO on the tail (for how long nobody knows), and the Continental Airlines CEO taking over the raines! Now this is going to be a combination that is going to interesting..
Being an X Continental Airlines employee I feel bad that the Continental image will soon be lost into what is shown above, but never forgotten!
I worked for Continental at MAF from ‘67 to ‘69. Love to hear from any of my old friends out there in cyber land.
Thanks for publishing the information. This really brings back memories having been a travel agent for the past 28 years, plus having a Dad who worked at Pan Am from 1938 to 1978. I haven’t read everybodys comments, so forgive me if this has been shared, but from this list I don’t see World Airways or Wien Air Alaska mentioned.
What a walk down memory lane. At least I got to live through the best years of commercial aviation.
Couple of other missing…Southeast that flew from MIA to the Fla Keys. The best of all, Chalk Airlines that flew from MIA to the Bahamas. Chall operated sea planes of various types and flew by the seat of their pants and dead reckoning. What a fun ride.
TWA was absoutely the best, but was so terribly mismanaged from Hughs forward. We did it because we were great employees who could do anything with nothing. I miss them all.
A lot of work and enjoyed it much. Worked for Northeast 1959-1961 as a/p mech at LGA & IDL.
Jay Graham said on August 22nd, 2010 at 3:45 pm :
Fascinating and well done, obviously some editing (per folks’ comments), but congratulations on a ton of research.
My Dad flew for TACA and then Morgan Airlines (Honduras) 1932 - 34, returned home and was Captain with TWA 1938 - 47. Quit TWA in disgust over their mismanagement of international operations.
Thanks for the photo’s and good stories; and for including allthose comments…
Might be interesting to do similar effort on the airlines that have SURVIVED for these many years, too!
I would like to add a few more:
Lake Central Airlines, which was merged into Allegheny airlines in 1968.
Colonial Airlines which was merged into Eastern Airlines in 1956.
Seaboard World Airlines, an all cargo airline which started out as Seaboard & Western, which was merged into the all cargo airline Flying Tigers, which also no longer exists to-day.
I am a retired engineer; and I worked at all 3 of these airlines.
R Neal said on August 22nd, 2010 at 5:33 pm :
You left out Bonanza Air Lines, Pacific Air Lines and West Coast Airlines, which merged to become AirWest and then became Hughes
Great pictures of some great airlines. World Airways is another I think left out. You could get a great deal here in Australia buying a combination Continental?world fare to London. Calstate is another smaller defunct, and I guess Northwest Orient should get a mention, along with American Trans Air. I have doubts about TWA closing in 1991. Certainly there were TW/AA codeshare flights through St Louis operating later than that. And as for Pan Am I believe the weight of their frequent flier scheme was a major influence in their demise. They were filling huge chunks of their loads with freebies and this was making their yields unprofitable.
A couple of Delta corrections:
Delta started their crop dusting operations in Macon, GA, then moved to Monroe, LA as it was more centrally located. They were originally known as Huff-Daland Dusters, then became Delta Air Service. C & S merged with Delta on 1 May 1953 not 1957.
C & S began life as Pacific Seaboard on the west coast flying Bellancas. C & S never operated any CV-340’s.
At the time of the merger they were operating DC-3’s & Connies. Delta sold the C & S Connies to Pacific Northern Airlines which was purchased by Western Air Lines, who also operated them.
Northeast Air Lines merged with Delta in 1972. At the time they were flying B-727-95 & 295’s, DC-9-31’s & FH-227C’s. All operated in Delta markings.
Empire Airlines operated out of Boise, Idaho in 1946 then merged with West Coast Airlines in Seattle in the early 1950’s which was owned and operated by Alaska fisherman named Nick Bez. West Coast started with 13 DC-3’s and later added F-27 aircraft in 1958. In 1962, West Coast added 4 Piper 31 and in 1965 West Coast added 4 Douglas DC-9=10 aircraft. West Coast, Pacific, and Bonaza Air;ines merged to make Air West in 1968 which was purchased by Hushes in 1971. Hushes Air West was Sold to Republic Air Lines in 1980 which was made up of North Central, Southern, and Hushes Air West. Republic was then sold to Northwest Airlines. History moves on.
Re: TWA-Yes TWA had financial problems, but those problems were greatly exacerbated by the loss of TWA 800 on July 17, 1996. Nobody who reads “First Strike: TWA 800 and the Attack on America” by Jack Cashill; or listens to the interview with NYANG Major Fred Meyer (former USN SAR pilot in Vietnam) could remain in doubt about what happened to TWA Flight 800. It was shot down and this fact was concealed by the government in a massive cover-up. TWA was shot down!
Paul said on August 22nd, 2010 at 6:44 pm :
Southwest Airways was based in SFO and in 1958 changed it’s name to Pacific Airlines.
The F-27 was/is a Turbo-prop.
As I recall PSA ordered L1011s but never flew them.
Nat Key said on August 22nd, 2010 at 7:11 pm :
The TWA 707 is a 331
Willard Marquis said on August 22nd, 2010 at 10:39 pm :
Worked for PanAm 1939-80. As Airport Mgr saw & handled Many other Airlines Particularly in LAD. Your info furnished a treasuretrove of fond memories. Hope to add more info as time permits. Did you list Chicago and Southern ? It operated US to SJU via the islands and was acquired by Delta about 1951 or 52.
Really enjoyed your project. Good Luck !
Hello…love your site. If I may offer one correction, Allegheny rebranded into USAir, which later became USAirways, but it stopped there. USAir did not rebrand into USAirways Express, nor Piedmont. Piedmont was acquired by USAir in 1989.
Efrain Cordero said on August 22nd, 2010 at 11:38 pm :
They fail to mention Caribair, that operated out of Puerto Rico, and eventually was purchased by EAL……
pete said on August 22nd, 2010 at 11:52 pm :
Another SFL operation was Marco Island Airways which flew MIA-Marco Island to bring potential real estate purchasers to Marco Island in the 70s. They flew a Martin 404 which was normally domiciled at Opa Locka.
Airlift of Miami operated for many years and used various types such as C-46, CV880/990, B-727, L-100, DC-8.
Rich International was active for many years (still might be!) and used C-46s to supply the ancient USCG Loran “A” chain stations in San Salvador & South Caicos; flew post Ch7 EAL L-1011s in charter service and well as a bit of scheduled flying; they also has DC8 flying at one point.
Arrow Air flew cargo, some pax, & mil. charters and lost a mil charter DC8 flight in Gander, Nfld.
Then there was Miami Air, a carrier which came out of the ashes of the final EAL BK 7 filing, some 2 years after the IAM strike.
You left out Lake Central Airlines. Founded by Roscoe Turner.. Roscoe tp keep his certificate founded Michigan Central Airlines which flew into Flint, Saginaw, Traverse City, Michigan once a year to keep the certificate issue after WWII. He sold that route to Capital (Untied) when he founded Lake Central.
Lake Central Airlines was an airline that served points in the midwestern United States from 1950 to 1968, when it was merged into Allegheny Airlines. Founded as Roscoe Turner Airlines, the company was based at Weir-Cook Airport (now Indianapolis International Airport) in Indianapolis, IN. It serviced communities principally in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland. It flew Douglas DC-3, Convair 340, Convair 580, and Nord 262 aircraft.
Roscoe aslso founded Michigan Central Airlines after WWII, whcih flew once a year to keep the certificate with a Stinson Voyager and a Cessna T-50 (Bamboo Bomber). They flew to Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and Traverse City, Michigan. He sold te route to Capital (United)
Many coomments. For years United Airlines was spelled United Air Lines.
The Pan Am around the world flight over the North Pole also went over the South Pole. The route was San Francisco - London - Cape Town - Auckland - San Francisco.
If you include small regional airlines, you missed Henson Aviation, Ransome Airlines, NewAir, and Pilgrim. Also Colonial Airlines which operated DC-3s from New York to Albany and Monreal and was bought by Eastern, in the late 1940s, I think, so that it could get a route to Motreal.
Beside Wien Alaska, there was also Reeve Aleutian in Alaska.
I noticed many of your omissions, then found most of them covered in the comments.
I worked for four airlines. Only one is still operating. However, I know a woman who was a flight attendant for nine airlines, all of which are now defunct! The angel of death!
A great site and I wish you luck with it! You’ve got a subject here that will keep you busy for a long, long time!
Tokyotim said on August 23rd, 2010 at 4:36 am :
Please include independence air! From birth to shutdown, independence had the shortest lifespan of any airline in history, but operated 99 airplanes.
gerald marketos said on August 23rd, 2010 at 7:26 am :
You left out the original Empire Airlines founded by my family in 1945. It lasted until 1950 when they neglected to renew the mail franchise application. (That’s how they were subsidized.)They started with about 8 UC-78 (T-50) Bobcats and later had a fleet of D-18 “C” model Beechcraft with 550 HP engines.It was chartered as an intrastate airline with the hub at LaGuardia and serviced about 10 cities throughout New York State. The Empire Airlines you have listed actually operated as Oneida County Aviation dba Empire Airlines as we still hold the trademark for Empire. President Paul Quackenbush was a friend.
You forgot to mention “Pacific Express” it was an attempt by Pan Am as a low cost regional carrier. It flew Bac 1-11’s and tried to buy some BAE-146. It filed for Bankruptcy. It was based out of Chico,Ca.
Air West was formed by the only THREE way merger in the history of American aviation. It was formed by Pacific Airlines out of SFO, West Coast out of Seattle and Bonanza out of PHX. It was a mess initially but they did prevail. Hughes bought them in late 1970 or 1971. They then became Hughes Air West. The planes were all painted yellow and flight attendants wore yellow uniforms.
Republic Airlines was the result of a merger (takeover) of Southern Airways by North Central. They later acquired Hughes Air West to further add to Republic Airlines. wasyjrm was then bought by North was
Very interesting! Thank you!
I was not able to continue with my history of Hughes Air West and Northwest. In 1986 Northwest bought Republic. NW\A was the strongest airline in the US. They owned all their aircraft and properties. They then were taken over by the Bill Marriott corporation who immediately leveraged all the assets turning NWA into a debt ridden company. I refer to this takeover as done by the Mormon Mafia..NWA had a terrible relationship with their employees and relied on the mutual aid pact to stay afloat what with all their problem with strikes. I think I’d welcome back the CAB!
Jane said on August 23rd, 2010 at 2:04 pm :
TWA & AA 2000
“Two Great Airlines One Great Future!”
TWA Pilots, FLight Attendants and Mechanics got the shaft.
AA got the TWA, Round the World Routes, and Airplanes. We also got stapled to the bottom of the
seniority list, not our date-of-higher seniority.
Question? What great future!
Great site! I started as co-pilot with Riddle Airlines (later Airlift)in the cockroach coner of Miami Int’l. After layoff, work for Aerovias Sud Americana from same place flying fright to South America. Left there to fly for Western Airlines in LA. Flew as a Second Officer on the DC-6 up and down the coast from LAX/SFO/OAK. Fare was $11.43. When UAL started flying 727s for $14.00, our load factor went to zero.
Furlough again fond me as a DC-6 S/O at Hawaiian Airlines. Got tired of the Islands, went to Flying Tiger in LAX flying F/O on the swingtail CL-44. Recalled to Western. Became a Captain and were aquired by Delta Airlines. End at the pinnacle of my career flying
MD-11 all over the world. Six different arline uniforms. There were so many opertunities with so many carriers now gone. I got lucky!
United airlines was originally going to buy Frontier airlines but waited instead till Frontier went bankrupt and bought all the aircraft.
Also when Pan Am went bankrupt United bought all the profitable Pacific routes. One or two of the major Mgmt people also went with United.
Nissen Davis said on August 23rd, 2010 at 3:18 pm :
Flying Tiger Line was acquired by Federal Express in 1989
Jet America out of Long Beach,CA in the 80’s. Flew MD-82’s bought by Alaska airlines
What about Saturn Airways? It was a charter based out of Oakland, California in the mid 1960’s. We flew mac flights too!
Other charters; TIA (Trans International Airlines) World Airways, Flying Tigers (San Francisco)
I think there was also one called Seaboard World Airlines?
Thanks this interesting page!
joan marx said on August 23rd, 2010 at 6:49 pm :
I flew five years for Western Airlines and what fun to read about all the different airlines I had long forgotton. I was in the era where a girdle was a requirement along with quite a few other things.
Joan Clements Marx
Cindy Lyon Guidry said on August 23rd, 2010 at 8:13 pm :
I worked for Allegheny from 1967 to 1983 and all these mergers wer very interesting. This web site is great.
Please include Altair Airlines (Died Nov 9th 1982) It was Philadelphia based and operated F-28’s and DC-9’s. thank you
Don’t forget World Airways operating out of Oakland, CA. Their hangar (could hold 4 B-747s) is still there after having been leased by UAL for a few years (1988-2002) mostly to perform “Section 41″ overhauls on early 747s. Unfortunately, most of the heavy maintenance is now outsourced to Asian countries - China.
Dave Moreau said on August 23rd, 2010 at 10:46 pm :
How about Regional or Commuter carriers such as Henson Airlines? That list might grow too large though!
Great site…enjoyed seeing former airline paint jobs on these aircraft.
In my humble opinion, PA went under with deregulation. When I hired on with EAL in ‘63, we only had two flag carriers; PA and TW. TWA had some good domestic routes that helped feed their int’l markets. PA did not. In 1978, same year as deregulation, NA came up for sale. Several airlines bid on it, including EA. CAB ruled in favor of PA due to route conflicts NA/EA, and PA’s argument that they needed online domestic feed. True enough, but NA route structure wasn’t up to it, and PA closed many of the smaller NA markets soon after acquisition. They correctly understood their problem, but bought an airline that wasn’t the solution. Because of its larger domestic feed, TW outlived PA, who lasted as long as they did by selling off assets. The fatal blow was struck in 1978, it just took a long time to reach its inevitable conclusion.
This came in overnight and I had a very quick look before leaving for work. What a great project!
Being a Brit I am not familiar with all the airlines but I do remember my first trans-atlantic flight in a Connie of Capital Airlines from Gatwick via Shannon and Gander to New York - something like 26 hours if I remember correctly. I fell in love with the Connie and have remained in love with her sleek lines ever since. The date was the summer of 1964.
Lorrie Lang said on August 24th, 2010 at 9:24 am :
When you mentioned that Western was known as the Champagne Airline, what really caught everyone’s attentions were our adds that had the “Wally Bird” sitting on the tail saying, “Western Airlines, The Only Way To Fly” (and he, the bird, would be sipping a glass of champagne or smoking a cigar) and of course one of our destinations would flash across the screen. We also had fun with the “Flub Stubs”. If we made a mistake and the passenger caught it, he was given a “Flub Stub” to redeme for a drink, etc.
Thanks, Lorrie Taylor Lang, Flight Attendant
1966 - 2000, WAL & DAL
Sure did enjoy Flying down Memory Lane on Central & Frontier Airlines. When is the next DFW Reunion? Great pictures of old friends. Is anyone else still working from the Central Class of 1965? I am with Expressjet Airlines that was just bought out by Sky West and will merge with Atlantic Southeast Airlines in 2011.
A big Thank You for a Wonderful Website!
Nicely done. I hope you can continue to add the many other other by-gone airlines.
This is a great website! Does anyone remember Dolphin Air?
Amazing how many airlines came and went. I remember arriving here from the Philippines in 1972 by, now defunct, CPAir under their “fly now pay later” program.
I noted there are a lot of conflicting statements about Texas International(TXI), Pan Am(PAA), National(NAL) and Continental(CAL). This is the story as I remember it. After a manipulated strike in the winter of 1974 into 1975 at TXI which is money losing time for most carriers. TXI collected money from the Mutual Aid Pact(MAP). The MAP is a program established by the Carriers to pay a striking carrier sums of money while they are on strike. TXI took this money and bought a controlling interest in NAL. They then sold the stock to PAA at a healthy profit. The next major move TXI made was to buy controlling interest in CAL and merge the two under the Continental banner. I was there during that period of time and thats the way I saw it.
That is one great history course. Don’t forgwet Overseas National Airways (ONA) . aand also the helicopter airlines NYA , Chicago Airways and Los Angelas Airways
Joe Chriss said on August 24th, 2010 at 5:16 pm :
All American Aviation Co. became All American Airways and then Allegheny Airlines, as an airmail service from 5-12-39 to 1949 when passenger service began and didn’t change the name until 10-27-79. Allegheny merged with Lake Central (11-12-49 to 6-30-68) & Mohawk (4-6-45 to 4-11-72) eventually changing it’s name on 10-28-79 to USAir only to become US Airways in 1996. An additional merge was with PSA and Piedmont in 1989, then one year later service to Europe was started. American West acquired this entire group in 2005 moved from Washington, DC to Tempe, Arizona keeping the established and global name recognition. This brief history should set the record straight. I had the privilege of flying for this fine company from 1962 to 1994, and as a Captain for 27 years. They even issued me a wife . . . who worked as a F/A for 18 years. Thanks for the opportunity to share. Maggie & Joe Chriss —-24 August 2010
Does anyone recall MGM, flew 727 with 67 or 70 seats. Based out of LAX, they served LAS, and LGA. My wife was a res supervisor in LA
OJ said on August 24th, 2010 at 6:15 pm :
J Border-you’ve got it a–backwards. North Central & Southern merged to become Republic, then merged with Hughes Air West and kept the Republic name. Then Republic was taken over by NWA who was taken over by DL. Huges Air West came from the West Cast, Pacific, Bonanza merger. North Central was known as Wisconsin Central which was the first airline to fly a NFL team (Green Bay Packers)…..in 1941.
I was happy to see a commenter on here by the name of Bob Hardisty, a Captain with CO. I was with CO for 23 years……loved every minute of it. CO had a program in which a member of management was on board the A/C. We were called Directors of Passenger Service. We were problem solvers mainly. We sold tickets, booked reservations for hotels, rent-a-cars, and future floghts. Etc., etc., Best job I’ve ever had.
Howard Meyers said on August 24th, 2010 at 8:56 pm :
I believe you forgot to list Aeromar, another organization operatiing out of corrosian corner in Miami owned by the Fine family operaing under a Dominican certificate. Yours truly began his airline career after serving in the Air Corps during WW-11 Korea and finally Vietnam. Hired on by The Flying Tigers in 1955 (C-46 cp-pilot) Furloughed after several months, luckily Riddle Airlines was hireing in 1956 and was accepted as CP C-46 and was based in Canada for the Dew Line construction sites, also received C-46 type rateing. Furloughed again and managed to obtain FE certificate, for which Continental Airlines hired me in1958 and completed my FE training based in El Paso DCp-7 type. resilgned Continental and was hired by National Air Lines in 1959 based in Miami. Joined Mackay Airlines as DC-3 CP in 1959, Resigned Mackay to accept a Captains slot with Dominican Airlines C-46 DC-3 position in 1960. Recalled by Riddle in 1960 and continued on with Riddle qualifying in the DC-7, L-100, DC-8, 727 remaining there by my own choice till financial problems caused Riddle (Now Airl;ift) to close its doors in 1980. Hired on with Aeromar Airlines in 1983 (DC-8) flew till my 60th birthday then resigned ti acceot a Position with Aaudia Air flying DC-8 for the pilgrimage. I made many mistakes in opting to remain in one spot all due to the ever increasing family I started late in life.
Since you reference various female firsts in the airline industry throughout, I thought youu might like to add to the list with North Central Airlines. Sometime in early 1979 when I was a new-hire at American, based in Chicago. an article appeared in an Ohare employee newspaper, (possibly one of the Chicago newspapers), about a flight on North Central Airlines crewed by an all female crew. The article included a photo of the captain and the first officer, both female, seated in the cockpit. You may wish to research.
Jared Howe is really messed up. Frank Lorenzo did the same thing to CO. This guy was a real crook!!!! CO did not get a thing out of the EA deal. I had a lot of friends at both airlines, and they were comrads all fighting Frank. The CO people all ready went through Franls BS, and tried to help EA people as much as they could. Frank sold everything of value at CO before EA entered the scene. The Flight Kitchens, the computer system, the flight planning system, etc. He set up dummy corporations to buy these items, then charged CO a fee to use the services. He charged CO more for a flight plan than he charged WAL. And, it was CO’s to start with. C’mon, Jared, check the facts before you type……better yet, check with some of your former co-workers at EA. CO was put into Chapter 11 by Lorenzo, and they had $80 mil in the bank. He took $30 mil from the CO retirement fund. I know. I was the PHX rep for CO’s Agent Advisory Council.
susie said on August 24th, 2010 at 11:20 pm :
Sorry Nancy but I’m in the dark cause I have no clue about what you’re talking about?
Joe Criss - Thanks for getting it correct. I started with Lake Central Airlines in Lima, Ohio in 1965 and retired with US Airways in Charlotte, NC in 2001. Your mergers and dates are totally correct. John
Pacific Northwest (PNA) is not mentionned. They merged into Western Airlines.
May I add a few airlines worth mentioning.
(I flew for them and a dozen others!)
Maverick International “World’s Greatest Bull Shipper” flew 707 Freighters from Stewart Field, NY KSWF to various destinations around the world. (1978/79.)
Aero America also flew 707’s from SEA and BFI to HNL and GEG in 79/80. (The crooked owner Joel Rosenberg was known to re-surface every few years and sell a bunch of tickets then declare Chapter 11!)
Hawaii Express “The Big Pineapple” stared 747 operation from LAX to HNL in 1982. Later switched to DC-10s. A great airline that became the target of a hostile takeover by a couple of attorneys who ultimately took it into bankruptcy.
Another one I’d like to forget was Rosenbaum Aviation who flew DC-8-63/73s for Emery and ABX Air Freight. I flew a few months for them while mostly half asleep!
Capt. Ross “Rusty” Aimer (UAL Ret.)
Aviation Experts, LLC
Currently a pilot for JetSuite Air
Great history lesson. Read all the comments. You can “feel” the history bleeding from the screen. Working for an airline was a “passion” for many. Airline industry resembles giant swiriling pool or hurricane full of wonderful people. Imagine how many hundreds of thousands of hours were spent stareing out the windshield for the pilots. How many “miles” were walked up and down a 24″ isle for F/A’s! What stories can be told!!
I saw Morris Air mentioned only once. Started as Morris Air Charter with PDX, SEA, SLC pilot bases crewed by Ryan Air Pilots and more I can’t remember. Became Morris Air, certificated in only 90 days thanks in part to an “old man” named Usto Schultz! Unprecidented in airline ’start ups’! (at least that’s what we were told!) Operated 3 years. (+/-) Absolute most fun you could have with your clothes on! Bought by Southwest Airlines Company merger date 1/1/94. Many F/A’s (sadly) not picked up. Pilots were “stapled” to bottom of seniority list as opposed to “alternative” of “don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out!” Several didn’t! Acquisition (IMO) was a good business decision over long run. Over the years many “potential” good acquisitions were killed when it came to senority list mergers. Many lives affected.
One last. “Maverick Airways” operated in ‘73-’75 from SAT to EGP (Eagle Pass, Texas) Part 135 “scheduled service” owned by a local banker. Two flights a day operating (wait for it!!) a single engine Cherokee 6. Five passenger w/minimum baggage. Hour and ten minute flight. No approach at EGP. Fortunately AM radio station was near runway! (uhh no of course not…we would never fly a “made up approach”!) Operated about two years. Freight dried up and so did company. Just another “stick” on the funeral pyre of aviation history!
Eastern Air Lines,,,what a great company. Lots of folks are quick to blame Lorenzo about the demise of the company. Had Labor/Management
or Management/Labor resolved their issues in the first place it never would have reached Lorenzo’s desk. Let’s see, how many years did both groups bang heads about work rules/cost issues…Worked for 20yrs with EAL…many fond memories of the company and 99% of the dedicated employees. The other 1% knows who they are and what they did to this company.
HAS ANYONE THOUGHT OF NAMING ALL THE ” BAD PRESIDENTS AND CEO’S THAT RAN THE AIRLINES INTO THE GROUND? MOST OF WHICH WERE NOT EVEN AIRLINE PEOPLE.
In the 1960 or so, Purdue University had an airline called PAC. I think it was Purdue Aeronautical Corp.
Does it count if the airline never got off the ground? Family Airlines, HQ in Las Vegas, had possession of several 747’s ready to fly MIA, JFK, LAX in 1992. One was even painted, but the developer turned out to be a crook.
I worked for 4 airlines; started with Braniff in 1977 & then went to work for Muse Air in 1981 which sold out to WN that changed the name to TranStar & then went to work for NWA in 1988 and left there in 2003.
A dear airline colleague forward your fine overview. I was impressed. Very much so. I also like your no-nonsense printing of mistakes you might have printed. A very nice touch.
James B. Lawrence
(formally vice president/’Sr. vice president Braniff Airways; VP Continental Airlines/EVP WRG advertising handling Co account; Senior VicePresident Air France.
p.s RE BN I did not know the little fact about South Park - Will look for it
What about the Trump Shuttle?
Chicago Air was acquired by Midstate Airlines of Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
I still have an Allegheny Airlines sweatshirt! I remember back in the ’70’s everyone kiddingly referred to it as Agony Airlines.
Thanks for the memories. I had forgotten about many of these airlines.
what happened to modernair? It was I believe based in miami and had a separate internal route system in west germany. they operated convair 880s and 990s on the german routes some of the female flight attendaants were topless ps Iblieve the 880s were then the fastess civil jet aircraft in service
What happened to Northwest Orient ?
(rebranded Northwest Airlines)
A nice site to remind us of the good old days, and the event travel used to be. They said it would get better but who can forget the silver service of Pan Am and Braniff International. Didn’t happen.
It might be interesting to put the list in the a chronological order or when that the airline went out of operation so we can remember this sequense of mostly sad events. Just an idea.
Jim Pitts said on August 25th, 2010 at 8:51 pm :
Outstanding!! I joined QANTAS in ‘59 in HNL, the Continental (LAX & HNL) then USAir in BOS. Fond memories after 37 yrs. Catalina Airlines flew from Long Beach Airport to Avalon Bay with sea planes (landed in the Harbor) and was owned by the same guy the operated the SS Catalina Steam Ship from San Pedro to Catalina in the summer. When flying with the Air Force during the Korean Conflict we used to crew rest on Wake Island enroute to TYO and stayed in TALOA (Trans Ocean Airlines) quarters with the crews from Tiger, Seaboard Western, ONA (Overseas National) Pacific and others. Had great times there. One airline you left out was South Pacific that flew from HNL to PPT (Tahiti) in the late 50″s and early 60’s with Lockheed 749 A/C. One correction, PSA started out with DC 3’s and DC 4’s. It was Air California, HQD in Newport Beach that started out with the 1011’s that they bought from QANTAS. I have rambled on but love this site. Thanks Jim
What about ATA airlines? 1973-2008
Had the largest military contract and No accidents in their 35 years of service.
Flew in and out of Ft Polk LA a number of times on Trans Texas Air - somewhat affectionatly known as Tree Top Air - they claimed to have the best safety record with never a crash
I never saw the original information, but I was a member of the 9th class of pilots hired by People Express Airlines in Septemberof 1981. We were all based at EWR. We had 10 B-737-100 and 200 series a/c, 101 pilots, and 300 f/a’s when I was hitred.
I checked out in the 737 and the 727. Only a family illness prevented my adding the 747 to my ticket, also. It was a fun place to work and to begin an airline career. When I left in 1987 (after the arrival of Lorenzo and his scab contingent), I was #101 out of about 1400 pilots on the seniority list. Also, we had grown to about 70 a/c sporting the PEX logo.
If you’re researching California commuters, there’s Swift Aire Lines out of San Luis Obispo (SBP) - 1969-1981. Started with Piper Navajos, upgraded to DeHavilland Herons, then Aerospatiale ND262 Nords, and closed down while flying the Nords and Fokker F-27s. There’s even a book called “Swift Aire Lines” published in 1979 and still available on the used market.
Also Apollo Airways/Pacific Coast Airlines out of Santa Barbara (SBA). I think the years were 1975-1985, flying Handley Page Jetstreams with dinky little French Turbomeca Astazou turboprop engines that resembled pencils while producing a decent amount of ESHP.
Golden West was mentioned by others. You might also mention Justin Collin’s failed attempt at Golden Gate Airlines out of Monterey (I think the identifier is MRY). Started with Metro IIs as Gem State Airlines in Idaho, bought the DHC-7 Air Pacific operation in Oakland and moved to MRY to start his California adventure. I believe it went from 1979 to 1981, and during that time he managed to buy and then take Swift Aire down with him.
On the other hand, cataloging the hundreds of failed commuter airlines could tax even the capabilities of the internet.
Correction, I screwed up. Air California original flew Lockheed Electras aquired from QANTAS..not L 1011’s . Sorry, I’m getting older and, by the way, the DPS program at Continental Airlines was a great program. Many of the DPS’s went on to be Sales Reps. ( The Proud Bird With The Golden Tail)
Patty said on August 26th, 2010 at 9:04 am :
Great Job and thanks for the memories use to fly on Capital when I was a kid as my dad worked there and then went on to United. I worked for Republic and then on to NWA all my brothers and sisters and husband now work for all different airlines and I am retired. Great pics!
You missed Wien Air Alaska. It was one of the most historic airline ever
Another Airline Gone!
I was VP Marketing, Public Relation for MGM Grand Air LAX-JFK-LAX start up. (Kirk Kerkorian) We purchased 3 727-100’s and outfitted the aircraft with 33 seats, very posh. A fare structure the same as First Class fares on the major carriers. From my background in the airline business CO 23 yrs, SW 2 years, Muse 3 years, A contact of mine from PAA sold us the JFK slot and we were in business. These were days when networking helped. We received some of the business from other contacts I had with reservations managers from the all the major Airlines, AA,UA,TWA,DL. We got there overflow of First Class passengers. Along with our regular bookings and with only 33 seats per flight to fill, two flights a day we of course had the highest load factor for any start up Airline from day one. After one year a new president was brought in. He had expansion plans that would take the airline down and he eventually did! This was his second airline failure. I resigned shortly after he arrived since I was not in agreement with his plans. so “another one bites the dust”.
Think there are yet more missing (my scroll reading is not the best so they may have been mentioned).. Buffalo Airlines International charter, Transtar (Texas based), Royal Hawaiian Air Service (small prop service in paradise), Pilgrim Airlines (based in New England). As some people mentioned some international carriers that possibly served US markets, and being Canadian, here are a few from north of the border; Nordair, Pacific Western, CP Air then by the name of Canadian Airlines International, Quebecair, Eastern Provincial, Transair (Manitoba based), Air Toronto, Air Ontario, Air Alliance, Air Nova, Ontario Express, City Express, Great Lakes Airlines, Time Air, Odyssey Airlines charter, Jetsgo, Nationair charter, Roots Air, Royal and no doubt I have forgotten others. Keep the updates coming, makes for some interesting reading down memory lane!
karen said on August 26th, 2010 at 1:22 pm :
Jet America Airlines flew from 1981 through 1987. It had an all MD-80 flew and was based in Long Beach, CA. It was eventually bought and merged into Alaska Airlines.
Cord Leih said on August 26th, 2010 at 2:01 pm :
I didn’t see any comment on Markair. I have a friend that flew for them.
Bruce said on August 26th, 2010 at 2:38 pm :
You may want to add World Arways pot of Oakland, CA http://www.worldairways.com/heritage.php
Don in the Desert said on August 26th, 2010 at 4:11 pm :
I haven’t read all the comments but I think you might have left out Trump Air? if so I’ll bet The Donald’s Ego will be hurt for sure….
Bob therrien said on August 26th, 2010 at 6:53 pm :
There are a lot missing here. Mark Air, Pride Air,
I can send you a pix of one of our aircraft if you let me know where to send it.
US Africa Airways was a United States based airline that operated flights between Washington Dulles International Airport (then called Dulles International Airport) and Johannesburg in starting in June, 1994. Flights refueled in the Cape Verde Islands. Later, once a week flights were added to Cape Town, which also refueled in the Cape Verde Islands.
The airline was the first U.S. airline flying only international routes since the U.S. airline industry was deregulated in 1978.
The airline operated flights from June 1994 to February 3, 1995.  It leased two McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft from American Airlines, registered as N1757A and N1757B.
Bahamas Air - flew it several times from National Airport (DC) to Nassau. Looks like you’re only looking for US Airlines - not sure if Bahamas Air was Inc. in the Bahamas or U.S.
Air Micronesia was a part of Continental Airlines - does it still exist? Not certain if it was considered a U.S. carrier.
AirCal did not cease operations, it was purchased whole by AAL, and as a matter of fact, was asked to stop hiring pilots just a few months before the official take-over by AAL. At the merge AirCal was doing very well, and AAL took pilots, aircraft, routes, employees, and management into the AAL family.
you missed Trans Caribbean bought by American
Carib Air bought by Eastern
God, I love this site. Two questions. First, when Lorenzo took down Continental the story was that two employees dressed up like ninjas and armed were arrested outside of Lorenzo’s home planning to kill him. Is that true? Next, what about Air America? The overt/covert CIA airline?
I worked for EAL for 20 years (1969-1989) and wholeheartedly agree with John. While Frank Lorenzo certainlt did not help EAL, he was a symptom, not the root cause of Eastern’s demise.
Starting with Eddie Rickenbackers misinformed decision not to invest in jets, which lead to a VERY expensive purchase or jet delivery positions, EAL was asddled with a huge amount on long term debt and an extremely contentious relationship with its unions.
EAL was filled with skilled professionals and I miss the company, but given current conditions, don’t miss working at an airline - it is not the same business in which I started in 1969.
Great site - love the history and all the comments.
Nice work. You show West Coast and Bonanza going into Hughes Airwest but have no entries for them.
I myself worked in the airline business for a period of 33 years. First for British United Airways at Gatwick Airport, London. Then on to Pan American World Airways at Heathrow, London. After that, with Iran Air, London, then Finnair, London, and finally with Saudi Arabian Airlines in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. What a terrific field of work we had!!! Loved it!!
Nothing better. My regards to all my ex colleagues.
I think it would be nice if Chalk Airways was included. To my understanding it was one of the oldest airlines and it operated seaplanes from Biscayne Bay in Miami to the Florida Keys.
I rode on it from Key West to Miami and it was a blast!
A couple that I did not see, United States Overseas Airlines (USOA) and Artic Pacific; also I beleive PSA started with the DC-4 aircraft before they ever had Electras. It is a pleasure to connect with site and refresh the names and times; some might be interested in a book that has been published and follows a pilot from first flight to retirement that has good reviews from pilots. “Adventure of Becoming an Airline Pilot”. Avail on Amazon, get used for low price or Audio download very cheap. I am that pilot.
Did not read all the comments but assume someone mentioned Command Airlines. As I recall - New York and up the Hudson primarily in early ’80’s
Thanks, this has gotten more confusing over the years. I’m delighted to see it clarified.
Hank F. Miller Jr said on August 28th, 2010 at 12:18 am :
This certainly brings back so many memories from my travels over the years. My family andI have taken quite a few of these defunct air lines on our many travels.I remember Tower Air Lines especially because that air line carried many military and Government personal as well as me to and from Vietnam during that conflict back in the 60s and 70s.Hank F. Miller jr. Kitakyushu City, Japan.
Tim said on August 28th, 2010 at 9:32 am :
To further update your website, I recommend reading the following book about defunct airlines. It is called “Deregulation Knockouts” by Tom Norwood. It has been published as separate editions “Round One” and “Round Two” covering the post-deregulation period. Both titles are well illustrated and provide additional detailed background information on each carrier.
What about the late T.C.A.?
What came of the proposed restart of Eastern Airlines for summer ‘09 ?
Jay Stewart said on August 28th, 2010 at 2:29 pm :
I’m a retiree of another defunct airline (SABENA) but worked for them in the States. I don’t think there are any of us (retirees) who haven’t worked for one or another of these carriers. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I will try to fwd this to my old buddies.
How about some history of the 3 major helicopter scheduled airlines, CHA, SFO, NYA ?
I flew for Chicago Helicopter Airways from 1959-1962, was furloughed twice and then flew for American Airlines 1965-1992.
After working many years in the Airline industry, retiring in 1993, I find this site not only interesting and historical, but have also seen the names of some of the wonderful people I either worked with side by side, but those also who I knew working with other airline co’s.
When the Carter admin. dropped the C.A.B. the writing was on the wall for many of the great airlines that operated at the time and then the mergers started, some of which I was caught up in. The fortunate part of all of this was the fact that we made some great friends. Cathy Dixon can testify to this.
No matter what happened in the past, those of us blessed with the gift of working in the industry will always have a Airline Family.
My own carreer started in 1953 and ended in retirement from N.W.A with several airlines in between.
You failed to mention Jet America, started in Long Beach Ca and eventually bought by Alaska Airlines in 1987. It was in business for 6 years.
No mention of Metro based in Houston or Rio
based in Killeen, TX which initially served mostly Ft Hood personnel, but later served a number of smaller cities, plus Houston and Dallas. Also no mention of Pioneer Airlines which operated in Texas and New Mexico in late 40s and early 50s.
Look forward to viewing
Hey, Pete Zamoyski! Email me to catch-up @ firstname.lastname@example.org
You forgot the all B757 airline also named National Airlines from about 5/99 to 11/2002. Based in Las Vegas. Management ran us out of business Mike Conway to be exact. Also what about Rich Int’l based in Miami. Going out of business in about Labor day weekend 1996. Grand Air Airways Based in Las Vegas. Shut down in 1995 I think
For correction, United airline bought the Pacific Routes from
Pan Am in 1985, the took all the 747SP’s and a number of
Pilots and Engineers, and a few management pilots.
We flew those SP’s NON STOP JFK/NRT 14 plus hrs! The first
time United dispatch set up a flight plan, they couldn’t get it to come out as a non stop flight, One of Pan Am’s former
Management Pilots, had to call PAA dispatch to tell United to
to issue a NON STOP FLIGHT PLAN. Pan Am ran its last flight
Dan Duffy said on August 29th, 2010 at 11:53 pm :
Don’t forget my beloved Seaboard World Airlines. We all still get together every year for great reunions. Seaboard was bought by Flying Tigers and subsequently by FedEx. I also remenber seeing the likes of Saturn, Evergreeen, Neptune and a few others on the ramp at Anderson AFB, Guam during the Vietnam era. Thanks for a great walk down memory lane.
Interesting bit of memorabilia: TWA was originally named Transcontinental and Western Air Lines and American had a separate division that it operated from New York to several European destinations and was suspended during World WarII. Also Philipine Airlines has not been mentioned and was flown almost exclusively by United States Army Air Corps pilots who were veterans and had flown in the Pacific during the war..
Enjoyed your site very muvh.
Remembere to add Pacific East which flew from LAX/SFO to HNL and Maui.
Great people but itot managment
I believe Western Airlines was the first commercial airlines.
re:c9omment about Pacuific Airlines, there w2as an incident in 1987 When a USAir employye boarded a PSA flight and shot The USAir Mgr, Ray Thompson. He then prceeded to the ciockpit and held a flt attndant at gun point, when the when the f/a told the cockpit crew there was a problem, Burke shot the f/a, the pilot, f/o and jumpseat rider. As the acft approached the gound, Burke shot himself thus killing all 54 pax on board. this happened just south of SFO All this over an alleged $67 theft
In 1962 flew for what I think was one of the first code share commuters in the USA. It was called Center Airways, which used DeHaviland Doves and later Herons. We were ticketed through Contineltal Airlines and flew Martin engineers from LAX to SMX, Santa Maria, California. The passengers then drove to Vandenberg AFB and the Pacific Missle Test Range. I later went to work for Zantop Airways, flying the C-46 and then on to a great career at Delta Airlines. What a junk heap of former airlines of which I didn’t see Northern Consolidated of Alaska.
Steve Sanford said on August 30th, 2010 at 11:24 pm :
I didn’t go through all of the comments but during a perusal I could not find any comments about MarkAir. The company was a significant part of Alaska’s airline heritage and should get some comments and discussion.
Texas Internatinal. I lived on it in the 60’s. One common nickname was “Teeter-Totter Airlines”. On the ground 5 hours in Abilene airport once, a dry precinct. Pilot used his captain’s perogative to declare us to be in Lubbock and opened the bar. Great airline, very friendly. Very sad it’’s gone.
Some of my favorite airlines, Braniff, NY Air, Eastern, Pan AM and my love and always in my heart - TWA….
AOA, American Overseas Airlines
Two commuter airlines come to mind.
Rio which flew in Texas.
I flew it rt from DFW to FT. Hood for an interview.
There were no auto-pilots on their planes.
Rio used Fairchild 27.
Cochise Airlines was commuter airlines operating in Arizona. The owner and CEO was Kenny Cardella, an ex-football player at the Univ. Of Arizona.
I once got one of the Cochise machanics to help fix my airplane at Tucson International in exchange for a six pack of beer for the staff.
Was there an Atlanta Air that flew out of Atlanta ?
You are missing PRIDE AIR out of New Orleans and NORTHEASTERN AIRLINES based in Fort Lauderdale. I worked for both of them.
Great Website. Can you add Pride Air based out of New Orleans and Northestern based out of Fort Lauderdale founded by Stephen Quinto. There is also GullAir and Carribean Express.
PANAGRA……I worked for National Airlines in NYC from 1965 through 1977 and remember the interchange flight 81 southbound and flight 80 northbound. National operated the flight NYC/MIA, Pan Am MIA/PTY, and PANAGRA (Pan American Grace) points south from Panama.
Very enjoyable and informative. I believe you forgot Lake Central airlines. Also being a former Capital Airlines employee. I wish to note Capital was the first carrier to bring the “turbo jet engine” to US Aviation. Your photo of the Viscount shows it.
Its a wonderful website and would make a nice history book!
Yes, ATA was defunct in 2008, I used to work as an engineer in College, it was a great company, but catered to part 135 ops (charter) and never made enough to survive. Had the last L-1011’s in USA!
Yes, ATA was defunct in 2008, I used to work as an engineer in College, it was a great company, but catered to part 135 ops (charter) and never made enough to survive. Had the last L-1011’s in USA!
How about the 2nd incarnation of National Airlines based in LAS? Our daughter flew for them for a couple of years and they were a very nice airline until put out of business after 9/11 by the government in favor of America West.
American Export Airlines.  became American Overseas Airlines after WW2./Users/ptcaa/Desktop/800px-Boeing_377_Stratocruiser_(B-29)_American_Overseas_1949-50.jpg
A few airlines I flew as a flight radio operator in 1948-1950 were…Seaboard @Western,Trans Caribbean Airlines, Trans Ocean Airlines, Associated Air Transport (Charley Blair owned).
American Overseas National Airlines I believe was taken over by PAA prior to 1948 as Charley Blair was captain for both airlines.
Pioneer Airlines which became part of CAL. Golden west Airlines out of Orange County CA.
50s and 60s nonskeds Slick Airways, Transcontinental Airlines, Trans Ocean Airlines,Currie Air Service, McCullogh Air, Muse,
I worked for MAXjet for a year and a half.We flew “First Class” charters all over Europe plus sched to London from JFK and IAD.They flew three refurbished 767’s with the first class seating.It was both the predatory pricing of the competition (remember the all First Class 757 out of the UK) and the fuel that put them out.
OMG who would’ve thought there would be so many. Back then there weren’t any Government bailouts. In 1958 I worked for Southwest Airways which was purchased by Howard Hughs who sold it to Northwest/Delta. Last month I purchased a ticket to MPLS from Delta and learned that I was actually flying a small jet owned by Compass Airline. Now days one doesn’t know who owns what anymore.
You forgot Lake Central Airlines, out of Indianapolis, 1950-1968. DC-3, Convair 340, Convair 580, and Nord 262. Merged into Allegheny Airlines, 1968. Lake Central was founded as Roscoe Turner Airlines.
Morris Air bought by Southwest Airlines?
Where is Northwest Airlines? It should be noted that Delta airlines acquired the carrier. I should know I am still flying except under another name and uniform.
Midway Airways moved in RDU when American Airlines dismantled the hub in North Carolina. Is this a different airline company than the way you show ceased in 1991?
I started my 40 year airline career with LAKE CENTRAL AIRLINES, in Buffalo, Ny. We flew DC-3’s and later Convair 580’s. Home office and res center in Indianapolis. Bought by Allegheny around 1968 or so. Our flights went from Buf-Eri-Yng-Cak-Cmh-Day-Ind-Sbn-Azo and term in Grr !!
What about Western Pacific Airlines based out of Colorado Springs. Known as the flying billboards with the Simpsons, Pro Rodeo, Sams Town, etc. Great airline.
Great collection and nice start to a huge project. World Airways and TransOcean are two more defunct carriers I remember with operations at Oakland CA
Len Hastings mentioned Pacific Airlines and the suicidal employee that shot the crew and himself in 1987 bringing the aircraft and passengers down; and this stirred my recollection of a similar incident in the Livermore Valley of Northern California in 1964; oddly enough it was Pacific Airlines again; a Fairchild F-27 turbo prop returning from Reno, Nevada with a gambler who had lost all he had, including his home which he had mortgaged prior and who shot the captain and then the co-pilot who coincidently I was acquainted with. I remember reading the San Francisco newspaper over and over…it was so unbelievable.
great info but here’s one you forgotor never knew about…Northeastern Interantional Airways owned and operated by Stephen Quinto based in FLA. Three aircraft that flew from ISP (Islip MacArthur Airport - Ronkonkoma, NY) to TPA, MCO and MSY. Eventually they also flew direct flights to MCI and SAN (all of which flew from ISP and stopped at one or two of there hubs). If I recall correctly they ceased operations in 1983, after filing first for reorganization and than finally Bankruptcy.
Thanks for the Memories! I was a Flight/Attendent
for National Airlines and later on with Pan Am
Airlines…It was the best years of my life…and I
miss traveling very much…I was still employed by
Pan Am when they closed down operations…
It was the worse and saddest day of my life…
So Thanks! for these memories of all these Airlines..
I had forgotten about many of them…
How about Luddington Airlines? 1928-33 ?? Bought out by Eastern Air Transport. Owned by Tommy Ludington and Amelia Earhart. I was a passenger on the inaugural flight between Philadelphia and New York (we landed at Newark).
KIWI - The little airline that could and did! Born out of the distruction of Eastern Airlines, it was given birth by former EAL’s dedicated, loyal, proud and hard working employees. They formed their own airline calling it KIWI, for the flight less bird, because they had lost their Eastern wings. I worked at KIWI, it was the best job I have ever had or will ever have. Although I worked for 20 years at Eastern, my heart skips a beat when I see the Kiwi colors.
Hughes Air West was a combination of three airlines , all out around the West Coast. I cannot remember their names.
Before I retired imn 2002, I had a map that had all of these really old airlines listed on them. I remember that IU gave it to one of the “younger people who was still working at Crystal city ‘US’
I should have kept it and offered it on E-Bay
On one side of this map was all of the “major airlines” at that time,On the other side was all of the little “puddle jumpers ” that went to all of the smaller cities.
Allegheny did not fly anywhere forther south that ORF. To get from PIT to New York City you either changed planes at PHL or went through some smaller cities.
They didn’t start flying to PIT-ORD non-stop until the combination with Lake Central.
The Allegheny pay checks for PIT were carried on NW from DCA to PIT and I can remember once they forgot to unload them and they went to Canada or somewhere out west.
Those were the good old days.
Jeff Nelson said on September 5th, 2010 at 7:36 pm :
Hey B.King I worked for Prinair from 77-79.
Two bits of Trivia about Braniff:
1.) Shortly after they came up with the “new paint job” they had a belly landing where the plane slid off the side of the runway. They quickly covered the tail logo and the Braniff on the side but none of us who landed and taxied by the poor damaged plane had any doubt that it was Braniff. The color was similar to the one pictured here…
2.) I had an unhappy passenger board my TWA flight after connecting from Braniff. He kept complaining about his earlier flight. The multicolored planes had just been introduced. Trying to calm him I asked “Did you at least fly on a pretty colored plane?” His disgusted reply, “It was baby-shit yellow.”
I noticed that you stated National Airlines was the first all jet powered. That’s incorrect. Bonanza Airlines has that honor as of Sept 1960. I was there and still have the commerative Zippo lighter that they handed out. Also visited the National Space and Air Museum in where there is a model of one of Bonanza’s aircraft denoting that fact.
john cuny said on September 6th, 2010 at 3:17 pm :
how do you start. 45 years in the airline business. started as a gas boy and baggage handler at 15teen with Catalina Airlines. Followed by Air Fast Freight B18 captain hauling freight to Catalina. Flew Martin 404 for a rock band. Hired American Airlines, furloughed then baggage handler again. Then to AeroStar Airlines Atlanta B727/100, bankrupt, then to Global Airlines B727/100, bankrupt, then American International Airways AIA B727, did not operate aircraft, then American Trans Airlines ATA B727, Recalled American and 30 years more airline retired 737 captain. Lots of fun jobs lots of great people. thanks for the website if I can find the pictures of the airlines I will forward them. Aerostar became Key and also some employees start Air Atlanta both flying 727/100. One final note many of these airlines wore the same color jackets we just changed the stripes on our jackets to reflect which seat we changed to. when we moved from one to the other.
God, I love this site!! I may have missed it but what about Air New England…They were HQ in the old NORTHEAST AIRLINES’ hanger at Logan Airport in Boston. They flew to small cities in New Hampshire, Conn., Mass, Vermont and Maine during the 70’s and early 80’s with twin turbo dash 7’s I think. Keep going with this great site. “Old airline folks don’t die, we just fade away” Jim
Mary Ellen Mann-Thiets said on September 7th, 2010 at 8:52 pm :
I worked for Trans Texas Airways and Texas Intl from 1966 till 1980 in the accounting department and them went to Frontier in Denver where I worked in accounting till 1986. Next I went to American Airlines and participated in the closing of the accounting offices for Air Cal, where I retired in 1998. I worked for Great Plains Airlines in Tulsa for about two years till they closed down. Lots of good memories and lots of good airlines
What about Wien Air Alaska?
Thank you very much for the good history. I do not remember all the Airlines that you present, but sure I did enjoy the photos of the airplanes and the comments. I LOVE AIRPLANES I worked as a Flight Attendant for several years!!!!
let’s not forget LA helicopter which flew out of LAX to surrounding cities and Executive Airlines which serviced New England and seasonally FL
went out of business when an EX Air VP allegedy sold advance scheduling info to ANE which in turn moved their departure schedules up by 10 mins/ EXair flew twin otters primarily and also had Beech 99’s as well as a Hansa Jet used for charters. ANE was founded by a former
stock holder in EXair who woke up one day and discovered he no l;onger had controlling interest
I was a F/A for Central from Jan 1966 until Jan 1967 - when I left and went to work for Eastern Airlines. After Frontier took over Central I believe Continental took over Frontier. Didn’t matter what I did I was going to be affected by Frank Lorenzo.
As a retired pilot (34+ years) of United airlines, I am familiar with almost all of the airlines you mentioned. One comment about PSA. The airline only flew within the California borders. It was best known, by far, for its beautiful flight attendants and their short-short uniforms. They purchased 4 L-1011 aircraft that contained a sit down bar down below which was a cargo area on most aircraft. The L-1011 did not last long in service because its occupancy level carried too many passengers and could not fit into PSA’s turn around time at the gate.
R. Patrick said on September 9th, 2010 at 2:07 pm :
Braniff Int. was known by its customers as “The largest unscheduled airline in the world”.
Let’s not forget “Air1″. Conceived and certified in STL in 1982-83. Scheduled service aimed at the business traveller and charter flights. Hubbed in St Louis Used a variety of B-727s, mainly former Braniff aircraft. Bankrupted in late 1984.
MOTTO —”1st class service at coach prices”
I have pictures if I could find where to send them.
Capt.Brian Wilson (Ret).
As a retired Air traffic controller, I thank you and will be looking forward to more info as you have it
Thanks as aretired ATC 25 years and am looking forward to any new facts you find.
First air traffic control position. Los Angeles center military OJT. 1955. Still in the air traffic control business. I provided service or rode aboard all these airlines. Some were exceptional. Most were very good. Wish we had them back in place of the pack mules we have today.
Great site, I worked for most of these airlines either employee or contracter.
The Hughes Airwest leg
Zimmerly Airlines started in 1944 in Boise was bought buy Empire in 1946 which became West coast in 1952 based in Seattle.
West coast, Bonaza and Pacific meged into Airwest July 1, 1968. that year my father, Don Maddock Sr started working as a mechanic. 1971 Howard Hughes bought Airwest. Republic bought Hughes Airwest after the meger of North central and Southern in 1979. Little known is that Hughes had planned in the event of a strike to move all the operation to Midway Airline. I worked for Hughes, Republic and Nortwest from 1976 to 1987.
Pace airlines from Winston was a charter company that wet leased Airplanes and crew to start the Hooters Airline.
Transmeridian Airlines was also a charter Airline that wet leasted Aircraft to Aeropostal
Pride Air was started by former Continental Pilots. Many of them lost their entire retirement to start the airline.
A suggested correction please; The TWA Moonliner of the 1950’s was an advertising ploy. The “Rocket Ship” was promimently mounted on top of the TWA administration building in downtown Kansas City. TWA actually applied with the F.A.A. for route athority to the moon at that time. The rocket in Disneyland is a reproduction of the original. The original rocket is on display in the Airline History Museum in downtown Kansas City!
P.S. It was rumored during the Vietnam War that the C.I.A. was actually the operator of Southern Airways as a front to recruit pilots for Air America in Cambodia.
I worked for PanAm for 35 years at JFK in passenger service. For a while, I believe during the ’70s, Pan Am was the handling agent for Altair Airlines which was a commuter airline which served the northeast. It flew small props and was a modest operation with the pilots being seen loading bags if necessary. One stewardess per airplane. Tarmac departures, prop wash, chocks. It was like working for an airlines the way it used to be. If you Google Images, you’ll find pictures of their later airplanes.
What about Air Atlanta which also was handled by Pan Am at JFK. It was a first class only airline operated during the ’70s. This is not Air Atlanta Icelandic.
Lake Central Airlines Indianapolis Based ” World’s Only Employee Owned Airline”
Western Airlines was the oldest continually operating airline in the world at the time of it’s merger with Delta Airlines. The well known motto was “Western - The Only Way To Fly”…!
Also, it was only rumored that Air Florida was going to buy Western, but there wasn’t any petitioned offer made.
MGM Grand provided elite one-class service with staterooms out of the Pan Am Terminal at JFK to LAX and LAS.
Also, New York Helicopter out of Pan Am at JFK, non-stop service from JFK to the roof of the Pan Am Bldg in Manhattan.
Transcaribbean Airlines operated out of a quonset hut at JFK during the 70s, headquarters in SanJuan.
As a member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators and a former investigator for the NTSB, I must be careful not to violate our standards of ethics.
I can discuss, for teaching purposes, facts and theories involving mishaps with someone like you, but not for my individual publication. I would be glad to talk to you by phone if you wish. My number is 334-774-5065
The Ozark crash of 1973 is a great teaching case.
Want to learn @ defunct US Airlines
It would be great to include the Canadian carriers that have gone defunct, starting with Austin Airways, the oldest established Canadian airline.
Maritime Central Airlines, Nordair, Quebec Air,
World Wide Airlines, Spartan Air Services, Trans Labrador, Air Canada, Canadian Pacific Airlines,
plus many others.
A lot of those mentioned above were pioneers in the 50’s. The Dewline, the MidCanada Radar line, etc.
Aircraft from DC-3’s, C-46’s, Avro Yorks, DC-4’s,
Bristol Freighters, DHC-2 Beavers, DHC-3 Otters,
And other types.
GREIG said on September 17th, 2010 at 7:20 pm :
What a great website you have.
Keep up the good work.
B Neeley said on September 18th, 2010 at 11:24 am :
Great rundown. Have flown as a passenger on at least 17 of the airlines shown. Braniff picture brought back long forgotten memory of the by-gone days:
Late,late, late one night arrived in KC at the old downtown airport. Checked bag didn’t show at claim so went to the counter. No one there. Went back to baggage claim. No one there. Access to ramp was open and the aircraft was still on the ramp. Crawled over the baggage slide, went out the the A/C, door was still open to the baggage compartment, looked in, saw my bag, went into the compartment, retrieved the bag and went to my hotel. Those were the days.
Might include the home base of each airline.
Also include current airlines and base, still flying.
Very interesting for us old agents.
“Marianne”, who made her comment on Aug. 15, 2010, is a bit off-base. United didn’t buy Pan Am’s “international routes” in 1984 or 1985. It bought Pan Am’s Pacific routes, probably in 1985, and the changeover occurred in February, 1986. I was a flight attendant for Pan Am at that time, and became a United F/A on Feb. 6, 1986. Other PAA routes were acquired later,bit by bit by Delta and United. I flew the same Pacific routes for United which I had flown for PAA, and also flew some of the European routes for United, that I had once flown for PAA.
We flight attendants used to joke, “They can’t fire us…slaves have to be sold” Well, darn if they didn’t sell us!
Great site! I worked for American, Eastern, Continental and PSA. All great times and wonderful memories and super people.
wow..i remember most if not all of these carriers! heck i even applied for a flight attendant position with several of them back in the 70’s and believe it or not, at that time, some still wanted only single women to apply for the “stewardess” job! my favorite was always western airlines..it was sad to see some of them go, like texas international,braniff,hughes airwest..
Chat Chatterji said on September 22nd, 2010 at 1:16 am :
In the 70’s in Terre Haute, Indiana, I helped pay for college, washing Beech 99’s. Britt, a family owned airline, grew to become a significant midwestern carrier feeding O’Hare. Britt eventually sold his airline to PeopleExpress, I think, which ended up in Frank Lorenzo’s hands and eventually Continental.
My husband and I both became private pilots in early 70’s.Both worked for Pan Am in 50’s. I worked for EAL before I was 21. Then got job in Chief Pilots’ office at Pan Am and worked for Pan Am as a flight attendant until I married–which was not allowable and retain the ’stewardess’ position. Those years were the best years of my life.
Pan Am was the greatest airline ever! No one was ’second class’ on that airline. I recall wanting to fly in the Liberty Bell Express around the world, which took 54 hrs.Got pregnant instead. Bummer. We invested in a/l stocks & lost
Got pregnant instead. Bummer. We invested in stocks inoptions with No.
Carolyn Ruby veazey said on September 25th, 2010 at 9:23 am :
Wow, Forgot how many airlines there were. I flew with National, then Pan Am till it’s demise. Great flying during that time. Brings an awful lot of wonderful memories of some good ole days. Let’s all go back. My Stewardess uniform is still ready.
Kirk C has a good idea. Let’s name all the bad CEO’s, Presidents, Managers, etc that ran a lot of these great airlines into the geound.
Start with Frank Lorenzo.
Don’t forget about Wien Air Alaska and Capitol Airways. I was a flight attendant for both of these wonderful airlines and only wish we could “go back to the future.”
What about all of the “Freight Dogs”, ie.Flying Tigers, Saturn, Universal, Ortner.Zantop, ONA, AirLift, etc.?
What a wonderful site. Thanks for building and maintaining it. I believe you missed one airline however. How can anyone forget Solar Airlines? It operated out of Roswell, NM and flew to Albuquerque and back twice a day and also one flight a day from Roswell to Dallas Love Field. It was the proud operator of four Beech C-45 / D18 tail draggers and for a short while even flew a Turbo Tradewind conversion of the D-18. The chief pilot, Buddy Adams, gave me my flying start. I was 200 hour pilot with no multi-time when he took me on. Seven months later I started a 33 year career with AA.
margareta (fritz) giambri said on September 26th, 2010 at 7:40 pm :
Nobody has mentioned that I could see about Capitol International Airlines based out of Wilmington,Delaware. Owner was Jesse Stallings and executive office in Nashville, Tenn. Flew for them for 2 years, had fun, and have no more information when they finally bit the dust. It was were strictly charterflights. Flew all over the world.
Air New England, sir!
Please include Transocean Air Lines. Regualar non-sked from OAK HNL GUM with a turnaround at Naha, Okinawa.
JIM said on September 27th, 2010 at 5:06 pm :
You should add Wien Air Alaska. Wien started in 1924 and operated until Nov 1984. One of the first to operate the B-737 in the US. (from gravel runways). Wien operated F-227s as well, moving construction workers to and from the camps during the Trans Alaska oil pipeline construction.
One of the fun airlines I worked for was The Hawaii Express. (The Big Pineapple)
We flew a single scheduled 747-100 between LAX and HNL.
Later we switched to two DC-10-10s. The airline became the target of a hostile take over by a couple of lawyers from Beverly Hills and shortly after was placed into bankruptcy in Dec. of 1983.
Majority of the original pilots hired (with the exception of myself) were from the defunct Braniff International and the F/As were mostly United furloughees.
The airline was founded by a young Hawaiian businessman by the name of Michael Hartley. He later started CheapTickets.com.
I have a picture of (LP-001) 747 somewhere in my files. Perhaps I could send it for your new revision!
Captain Ross “Rusty” Aimer (UAL Ret.)
Aviation Experts, LLC
San Clemente, CA
you forgot trump airways
I really enjoyed the “trip down airline memory lane”. My aviation background started in 1956 and the nostalgia was recently piqued at the Oshkosh Air Adventure.
Another airline I remember was Lake Central. It operated mostly piston planes, DC3’s, and either Convairs or Martins in the southern Great Lakes states.
Again, thanks for the written & pictorial history.
Hello; I am Jim Porter,sr. I worked with good old
National Air Lines for 34 yrs.as Mgr.of the Avionic
department with 84 employee’s.We maintained all
electronic systems,including auto guidance,auto land,
all communication systems & navigation. After PanAm
took over,in a yrs. time–theymoved the NAL mgr’s
and moved their grp. in to Miami from NY., I closed out
my Consumer Electronics business after EAL & PanAm
went under,and semi-retired–have enjoyed being
retired for 30 yrs. now..thank you jimp
I was a Stewardess/Flight Attendant for AA, NAL, NWA and CAL, as well as a supervisor for NAL and CAL (decided management was too much, and went back to the line and started all over at the BOTTOM of the sr. list again! When I worked for NAL out of New York (then Idlewild Airport), WE were the first domestic airline in the U.S. to fly jets, because of a lease agreement with PAA, who apparently did not need as many A/C in the winter, which was NAL’s busy season between IDL and MIA. I flew on one of those first trips, and boy, was it a kick! This website brings back SO MANY memories, and I love all the stories by all the former airline employees. It is just too bad that deregulation had to cause so many of the great airlines to go bankrupt!
Good reading,Yes there where many more airlines to add..It’s nice to see Not only the names of airlines long forgotten,but also names of crew members I flew with worldwide in my 38 years.
so Rusty it was Eisenberg and yes he is still out there.
And Claw,at Modern Air West Berlin they were not topless on rev flights.
Let’s not forget…
McCulloch International Airlines,Contemporary Entertainment and the “Starship”
I started with NWA(orient) at Idlewild in 58 then Pacific, Airwest ,Hughes Airwest ,Republic, back to NWA Now its Delta.Also remember Swift Aire in calif,and Center airways in Santa Maria Ca.
I thought that Pacific Airlines merged with West Coast Airlines in the 60’s. Pacific and West Coast competed for a few years, mostly in the West.
I can give you a page on Northeastern - with certain references - I was the founder and CEO of NIA and it was surely one of the most interesting start-ups in the pos-dereg era….
West Coast,Bonanza,and Pacific merged to become Airwest.I flew toBermuda on Cunard Eagle Think it was a Vickers Vangard.Swift Aire flew Herrons.Trans Canada had Vickers Viscounts, and I seem to remember a dc4 with Rolls Royce engines.
I flew PAA 54 to 62 LAD. My husband flew with Trans Carribbean known as the Flying Island to Puerto Rico. They had a trio singing on the flights for a time When it mergered with AA is when AA got the first male flight attendants and Spanish speaking stewardess My years with PAA to South America and the Carribbean are memories that I treasure.
I worked (briefly ) for Pride Air.
The history of mergers involving Allegheny, Piedmont, PSA, and Mohawk are confusing. There are actually several re-brandings using these names.
1. Allegheny purchases Mohawk and Mohawk disappears. The merged company continues as Allegheny.
2. Allegheny rebrands itself as USAir.
3. USAir purchases PSA, merges it into USAir. Merged company operates as USAir.
4. USAir purchases Piedmont airlines, merges it into USAir. Merged company operates as USAir.
5. USAir renames itself US Airways. This is still the same company with the Allegheny lineage.
6. US Airways has, through mergers and acquisitions, purchased and operated 3 regional airlines as part of their network, although the 3 airlines are operated separately (Allegheny Communter, Jetstream International, and Henson Airlines -Jetstream and Henson are acquired when Piedmont was purchased as Piedmont owned both). A complicating factor is that Allegheny Commuter is made up of a forced merger by US Airways of two wholly owned regional airlines, Pennsylvania and Suburban airlines. The two are renamed Allegheny Commuter)
7. Apparently, if a name brand is not used for a period of years in commerce, it is possible for competitors to begin using it. Therefore, US Airways renames it’s 3 wholly owned regional airlines after former merger partners. Henson is renamed Piedmont airlines and flies under that name today. Allegheny has already been renamed and is eventually merged into the Piedmont regional airline, while Jetstream International is renamed PSA airlines and flies under that name today. These regional airlines share neither employees, operating certificates, or corporate history with the original airlines. They are simply name changes for the regional airlines that are owned by US Airways.
8. US Airways is purchased by Phoenix-based America West Airlines. The company is merged into America West, however, America West chooses to change the name of the merged entity to US Airways, a less regional sounding name than America West. The current US Airways is in fact America West and shares no corporate history with US Airways other than being the entitity that purchased US Airways and took its name.
The operation of the America West aircraft with paint schemes reflecting Allegheny, Piedmont, PSA keep the logos and name in use to prevent competitors from using them.
please add my e-mail address to your list. This has been a great evening!
Frank Miller said on October 28th, 2010 at 8:52 pm :
Worked for Pacific Air Lines out of SF
from 1962 till it merged in 1968….
Those were the days.
I used to love the “Groumet Flights” of Republic leaving at dinner time. One could eat one’s way to Denver and the West.
thanks for the trip down memory lane, brought back many happy memories was with OZARK AND LATER TWA
james prochnow said on November 8th, 2010 at 6:02 pm :
How about TransAmerica?
Don’t forget Chalk Airlines. The plugged along quite well flying I believe Grumman Goose’s (Geese?). Mainly MIA to Bahamas destinations. They tried to regroup after a tragic structual failure crash about five years ago, but finally sucumbed.
Great airline stories, hope this does not dupe other comments;
1. Republic Airlines formed by NC & SO. Not so well known; A: SO was the stronger proponent of the two. B. When Hughes Airwest merged into RC, RC managment soon became dominated by ex-RW execs. Today another Republic Airlines lives on, but totatly unrelated to the original.
2. North Central Lockheed 10A’s were fully replaced by DC-3’s btw 1950-51. The last NC DC-3 departed in 1969. The famous DC-3 N21728 (ole 728) had some 86,000 hours when donated to Henry Ford’s Detroit (Greenfield Village) museum where for years it wore NC Colors, now disgraced with Northwest colors. For some great DC-3 Stories: http://www.douglasdc3.com/sohn/randstor.htm.
3. Western Air Lines: Not shown are its for- runner airlines (I don’t have them). Also a great WA Logo was the Indian Chief on a/c tails. Really neat about WA was its girdled stew’s making to-order ice cream sundies right at your seat.
4. Sun Country Airline was formed when Braniff failed. Was based in MSP, originated by Ex-BN Pilots.
5. Mohawk Airlines. Merged into Allegheny. The Mohawk CEO losing his airline was unhappy enough to end his life.
As an air traffic controller before Ronald Reagan lost his sense of humor, I have to say that I controlled most of these airlines at one time or another. It goes to show that paint was cheap back then and lawyers could make money bankrupting airlines, selling the planes and repainting the tails. Holding companies made a fortune selling off airplanes and bankrupting these companies. Thanks for the great website.
How come all you “historians” never show Trans Caribbean Airways in your websites? It was in business from 1946 through 1971 when it merged with American Airlines. That’s longer than some of the airlines you show. It flew from JFK/EWR/IAD to Puerto Rico, Aruba, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Curacao and Haiti. They flew DC-8’s and B-727’s.
I flew wigth USAF/NJANG from 1956 -’73 , I flew for Mohawk from Apr.’64 into the 1972 merge w/allegheny , changed name to US Air around ‘78-79 . Allegheny had merged w/Lake Central ealier , later we became US Airways after a bankruptcy , Pilots lost aal health insurance & pension . Retired 1991 , all in all a wonderful career and Airline people arethe best people in the world to work with . The amer . West buyout is correct , again many lost seniority with merger of a smaller Airline .
HOW ABOUT TRANSCARIBBEAN AIRWAYS?
Haven’t seen Universal Airlines mentioned. They flew a lot of military charters in the 60’s and 70’s. I flew on one of their DC-8’s from McGuire AFB to Frankfurt Rhein Main on Dec. 14, 1970 to begin my 14 month Army tour, stationed in Illesheim, Germany. I remember we stopped in Shannon Ireland to refuel and almost had to land in Koln because of inclement weather at FRA.
Worked 42 years for the airlines, Mid Continent, bought out by Braniff. Went with North West after BNF went down and then Sun Country until I retired. Sun Country was started by Braniff Pilots after BNF went down.
Lots of memories. Like your site.
Anderson Nettleship said on December 21st, 2010 at 5:55 am :
What about Scheduled Skyways from Fayetteville, AR known by us locals as Scareways. They were bought by Air Midwest we called them Mid Air Scare, both of them flew Metroliners.
Also Royal American also started in Fayetteville but shutdown after a few years.
Jaymie Chittum said on December 25th, 2010 at 12:34 am :
I saw Mackey mentioned a few times. Some little known facts are that Mackey Airlines was started by Colonel Mackey in the early 1950’s. He tried to convince the Broward County Commission that FLL would really be growing fast and MIA would no longer be able to service that many flights to south FL. The Colonel also told them that many tourists flying to south FL would fly to FLL if we had our own airport. Each time this issue came up for a vote, it was voted down. So the very crafty Colonel Mackey had some bulldozers delivered to the site of his proposed FLL airport & did nothing but move dirt around for a week or two. To make this part of a long story short, Broward County voted to begin construction of FLL immediately. I don’t know the year of the first flight out of FLL but the story takes another turn. Sometime in the 60’s, the Colonel sold the airline to Eastern who wanted Mackey’s Bahamian routes. Awhile after that, Colonel Mackey started Mackey International Airlines. I don’t know the exact year on these but it’s true. I was born in FLL and was sitting in F/A ground school in 1979 when an aging Colonel Mackey told that story to our F/A class.
We flew scheduled flights from FLL to LAX & LAS and ATL to LAS on DC 8’s and Convair 440’s & 580’s to the Bahamas & the Abaco Islands. We even flew to West Berlin as we were a 121 Flag Carrier, Mackey was the first and Aerostar was the best.Great people, great times & life long friends. Too bad flying isn’t anything like that now.
Tammy Shamblin Renie said on December 29th, 2010 at 10:43 pm :
Does anyone remember a very short lived airline named Devo?
Nick Oppegard said on December 31st, 2010 at 1:41 am :
Please add the oldest, and one of the longest running airlines in history - Wien Air Alaska - flew over 60 years, starting in early 1924 (2 years before Western and 4 years before Pan Am), and it was raped & liquidated in Dec. 1984.
Sean Franklin said on January 5th, 2011 at 9:56 am :
Very nice! I greatly enjoyed seeing the old liveries.
In the update I suggest:
Lake Central 1950-1968 (merged into Allegheny)
American Trans Air (ATA) 1973-2008 (assets purchased by Southwest)
Air Wisconsin 1960-1994? (Various owners since, operates currently as USAir Express)
Since your passion is design, what about the different designs? The one shown for Western Airlines isn’t the classic I remember.
Great website! I was prompted here while looking for more info on Mohawk, the first airline I worked for. Just read today of the passing of a wonderful supervisor I had in 1965, James Ricks. I went on to TWA and then Air France in 1972, retiring in 2007. I remember how excited the reservations department was after we received our first jet, a BAC111. We made a field trip to LGA after work, on our own, to visit her. Those were the days!
Hi, sorry to bother you. I’ve been trying to reach an old friend “Jim Gross” whom used to work/fly for Pan American and live in Honolulu almost 30 years ago.
I did google search and found this..
Nov 15, 2008 … Nice to also see some “old friends” like Jim Gross and others … PANAGRA airlines was a U.S. owned airline (Pan American airlines and Grace …
If it is the same person, please contact me.
I really enjoyed reading this history. I was with CO when the merger of People Express / NY Air and Frontier happend. That was a H…. of a day.
Thanks for your great information.
Kiwi was founded by a group of Eastern Air Lines employees who cashed out their pension funds by taking lump sum payments and then invested that money to found Kiwi. Sadly, the collapse of Kiwi took with it what little those employees had to show for their time at Eastern.
Eastern Air Lines bought some of PSA’s planes and flew them on the famous Eastern Air Shuttle between DCA, LGA, and BOS. Eastern flew the “PSA smile” for quite some time because to get the planes quickly into service, it simply painted “Eastern” over the “PSA” letters. I flew the orange-striped smiley Shuttle planes for quite a while, but cannot recall the dates for you.
Here’s a whole new airline for you. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribair_(Puerto_Rico)
It was bought by Eastern in 1973 and I flew with many former Caribair pilots.
I might add thet National Airlines were not only the first airline with an all jet powered fleet, it was also the first U.S. airline to fly jets on domestic routes. It flew from JFK to MIA with a leased Pan Am 707.
Mackay Airlines, Chalks, and Air Sunshine based in Miami. They were a fixture here for years.
I am a former TWA F/A & I’ve really enjoyed reading all of this about the former GR8 & not so GR8 airlines. Just wanted to leave my address so that I could be alerted to future work on these marvelous memories. Thx 4 all UR work.
DEREGULATION,INSANE FARE STRUCTURE AND MASTER MANUAL RULES DID THEIR SHARE OF TURNING A RES AGENT’S HAIR GREY!MY CAREER WITH BONANZA UP UNTIL THE 1968 MERGER WITH PACIFIC AND WEST COAST WAS GREAT.WITH THE C.A.B. IT WAS A NO BRAINER TO QUOTE THE RIGHT FARE. HAPPY PASSENGERS AND HAPPY RESERVATION AGENTS.
WHAT ABOUT AMERICAN TRANS AIR? ATA.
Worked for BOAC,British Airways 1971-1976,Delta 1976 to 2005.
Best job I ever had.
Great web site! I flew with Southern Airways 1993 - 1965. As the youngest in my stew class (no “flight attendants” then) I had lowest seniority so until I’d worked a while flew DC-3s on hedge hoppers from New Orleans up through MS, AL, GA and SC. More than a few times we had to circle while ramp agents shooed wandering livestock off the landing area. Many great memories of passengers such as Martin Luther King, Werner Von Braun and Bear Bryant. It was a great time for aviation!
Was wondering if you had any information about Allegheny Metro Express airline. I found a photo online of a plane operating thru this airline in 1978, but can’t find anything about the airline itself. (I have an advertising button that just says “Allegheny Metro Express” on it.)
I began my 20 year airline career with Lake Central Airlines in 1962 in Indianapolis. Lake Central Airlines merged into Allegheny Airlines in 1968.
Very good and nice pics. Worked for NWA, you can add, PNA (Pac NW Air) out of ANC later was merged into Western Airlines (WA) than to Delta (DL) which merged with NWA now Delta.
another Alaska airline was Wien Air Alaska and Reeves Aleutian Before the NW/DL merger
NWA and Reeves were the oldest airlines in the USA.
Westair Transport finished operations in 1960. It operated up to two DC-4’s and between 6-9 C-46’s. Westair operated primarily between Seattle Washington and Alaska. It also briefly operated in Europe just prior to its demise. It was based out of Seattle, Washington. During one year in the late 50’s it hauled more freight than all other major Alaka air carriers, combined. Much of the airline operations reformed under the name Sky Van Airways, which operated until 1964.
Alaska had an airline that challenged Reeve Aluetian, Wien, NCA . It was known as Westair Transport. It operated in Alaska from the early 50’s until 1960. They operated mainly freight and some charter passenger service from Seattle to Anchorage. They were the bain of Bob Reeves existance. Westair often carried more frieght yearly than the above mentioned airlines. Reeve went to court to remove Westarir from operating in Alaska. They operated C-46’s and DC-4’s.
Do not find Chicago and Southern Airlines that merged or was bought out by Delta I think. I was with Pan Am in Chicago and Cincinatti from 1946 until 1955. Pan Am demise was brought about by Juan Trippe never training a replacement and the very bad union problems that existed after the National buyout.
Try including Pacific Northern Airlines (PNA) who was purchased in (I believe) 1974 by Western Airlines - now part of the Delta family. This puchase, by WAL, gave them the CONUS to Alaska reach. Western Airlines….The Only Way to Fly…..
Mel said on April 12th, 2011 at 4:33 pm :
Wow, great stories, even if short. Funny, I’ve worked for 2 carriers within this listing and they were awesome airlines - nothing like what’s out there today!!
BTW - Western Air Lines also served California Almonds, not peanuts!!
BN, WA, DL - MCI, LAX, SMF
Mel said on April 12th, 2011 at 4:37 pm :
Also, you seem to be missing:
Golden Gate Air
We are missing some great names om your list
Reeve Aleutian, Pacific Northern Airlines, Wein Air Alaska,
What about Lake Central?
Mark R. said on April 20th, 2011 at 7:00 am :
I’m enjoying your site and the nostalgia. I flew on many of those defunct carriers, my first flight being on Mohawk. I remember paying 10 cents to climb the stairs to sit in the observation deck to watch planes take off and land. I even took a date once to what is now the old North Terminal, where I paid the 10 cents for both of us. Your work is appreciated. Thank you.
Your information about the closing of Braniff has the incorrect year (see quote below). I used to work for Braniff when they sold the latinamerican routes to Eastern Airlines. Eastern was already organizing their operation for this routes in May 1981.
I was in Los Angeles, on vacation. I arriven in LA on May 11th, and was supposed to return on a Braniff’s flight, when they shut down the very next day. I would’ve been stranded, but Eastern sped up and started the flights to latinamerica.
“Some flights scheduled to leave on May 12, 1982, at Dallas Fort Worth Airport were actually forced to disembark, being told that their airline no longer existed.”
You left out Trans Texas Airways!
I love this page! I’ve loved flying my whole life and flew on a lot of these planes! I flew the People’s Express from Newark to Brussels, the Republic Airlines from LGA to Traverse City Michigan, TWA back and forth to Paris, Tower Air between New York and LA in the early nineties. I loved the Eastern Airlines L1011 - I loved that plane. Thanks for the great memories!
I was in management with Western Airlines from 1975-1986 and never heard of a “failed Air Florida buyout”. Although I might not have had a “need to know”, I wonder who or what your source for that information is. And thank you for a fascinating read!
there was carrier called Modernair that operated out of Miami with convair 880s and possibly 990s they also had routes inside germany before the germans were allowed to . on some flights they had topless flight attendants.at that time I believe the 880s were the fastest passenger aircraft in service
It’s a shame that Capital Airlines had to merge with
United. Capital was a far superior airline with a great on-time record.
Great site. I flew on Pacfic Northern Airlines to Alaska in 1962, 707….years later flew 24 years for Interior Airways, Alaska International Air, which became MarkAir…PNA was part of Western..Neil Bergt (Markair) ran Western for a while during the 80’s.
Neil Weisthal said on November 26th, 2011 at 5:19 pm :
I once flew a regional airlines (in 1984) operating on the west coast and using BAC 111’s. My cheap flight from PDX to SFO had 3 intermediate stops, including BEND, OR and 2 others. I think it was called Pacific Express and it should be in your list
Bobby hebert said on December 3rd, 2011 at 12:31 pm :
What about Access Air????
I am now working for my fifth airline in MIA. Started with Chicago Helicopter Airways at MDW in 1973. Then on to Air Illinois at CGX (Meigs Field downtown Chicago). Then Ozark Airlines in ORD and STL. Then TWA and now American! All 5 airlines went bankrupt or at least filed. My bad luck?
i have 200 shares of north central airline stock where can i sell it
Bill Samuels said on January 30th, 2012 at 6:57 am :
Hello from London - two fantastic ‘cargo’ airlines of their time were; Flying Tigers, Seaboard World and Polar Air Cargo - I think all three was desolved by the other… I could be wrong. On the passenger side there were also Transamerica, American Transair, Champion Air, American Flyers, Trump Air, Air California… I’m sure there must be more but its a great shame that some of these great names have disappeared… Great site…
More information about Muse Air may be found at http://www.museair.com.
When talking about the crooks that were controlling airlines, don’t forget Glenn Ryland who brought down Frontier. He will be close to the top with Lorenzo.
Central Airlines never went bankrupt
and Laurence Lau was never president of Venezuela.
You can’t forget Jet America who flew MD -80’s out of Long Beach in the 80’s. They were later bought by Alaska Airlines.
to Bobrom 2009
I flew for Northeast Airlines, whose nickname was the “Yellowbird”!!! We veven served a Yelowbird cocktail…..quie tasty. Great little regional carrier that also did charters. We cooked steaks onboard for long haul services and at one point served hamburgers on our LGA / BOS flights.
Enjoy the commentary on airlines both current and of the past. Ticket jackets of most of them on the above website with more being added weekly.
WOW! Brings back great memories. I started out with National Airlines in Los Angeles in 1969. A great airline. National was indeed a healthy airline before it’s buyout by PanAm. I was always told that PanAm wanted our Miami gateway to Europe. I left PanAM to work for AirCal in Newport Beach, Ca. Another great airline that was wisely managed and treated their employees like people not numbers. Loved AirCal and still miss it. Also loved our aircraft colors. Prettiest planes in the sky.
trying to find the history of a now defunct first class (bankrupt) airline…Air One Inc. out of St. Louise airport (Lambert)…pilot list etc. thanks much.
Great site and wonderful tiring memories. Flew on 19 of these pictured. Two are missing, PANAGRA and American Overseas Airlines.
Keep up the great work.
Great pictures but no mention of Convair 880 flown at OKC for inspector recurremt training. I was one of the flight instructors. 1960 thru 1970
I have an 8×10 b/w print (which was hidden in a
book a friend found for me at a garage sale) of
a group of stewardesses of an old airline. It looks to be mid to late ’60s or so. If I can scan the print (genuine resin coated b/w paper),
could the insignia and uniform be indentified?
It is just a unique oddity.
i can remember Northeastern International Airways which had flights from long island islip to hartford philly boston miami ft lauderdale west palm among others and American International Airlines which flew out of atlantic city international airport to numerous florida destinations. Capitol Airlines flew from philly miami boston santo domingo san juan and geneva among others Air Sunshine i believed was the commuter carrier for National Airlines
I found this today and enjoyed comments about working with the non-skeds. My first airline was Cordova out of Anchorage in 1956. From there I flew with Wien Alaska
Out of Fairbanks. Then I flew with Transocean f/o on DC-4’s til they went broke in 1959. I really enjoyed flying with
Transocean, it was so sad they went bust. My last base with them was flying out of Tachikawa. Then I went with AIA who likewise bent belly up on the same routes from Tachikawa. Then Resort Airlines came in briefly and in 1960 I went on with Air America’s Southern AIR TRANSPORT
flying as f/o on DC-6’s til 1962 when the best years of my life came to an end as my 6 month physical discovered that I had become a type 1 insulin dependent diabetic?
Before I started flying commercial I worked with Pan Am in
Ground Operations. I was based in SFO, Annette Island, LAX
and spent 9 months at Wake Island.
I hope this. Discussion group continues.. What a great group of people with such familiar common interests.
I worked for flying tiger/cia at logan airport boston ma. in 1967&1968. can I retrieve my records. How?
tree removalbrisbane video…
[…]Interesting Defunct United States Airlines[…]…
Rocky Mountain Airways was based at Denver’s Stapleton Airport and flew to places such as Aspen, Leadville, and Vail/Avon using Dash 7 (they were the launh customer) and Twin Otter aircraft. The airline owned the Vail/Avon STOL port, so no other airline could land there, including general aviation. They were absorbed into Continental, and the STOL port is now a Wal-Mart. Of course, Stapleton was replaced by DIA, and commuter airlines like AIr Link, Trans Colorado and Pioneer gradually saw their demise. http://www.airliners.net/photo/Rocky-Mountain-Airways/De-Havilland-Canada/1062615/L/&sid=439c588548ad12fb537e373f2cc77fd1
I used to know a pilote Ron Barnett between 1976-1980. I have just learned via the Internet that he passed away on 23.12.1998. I am grieving, as this man was a wonderful person whom I left to marry someone else. I learned that he met an old relationship he lost touch with in 1971 and they met again in 1995, married in 1997, one year before he died. I would like to hear from anybody who knew us when we were in Luxembourg
Robin said on November 15th, 2012 at 6:53 pm :
Hello. I hope all is well with you and yours.
I’m working on a short story and I wonder if you can help with some details. I was recently on a flight that was overbooked and there was no room for my carry on so it was put on a separate flight. So I’m wondering: 1) Were there overbookings in the 1950s that forced luggage and carry ons to be out on another flight or is that just a current phenomena? 2) Which 1950s defunct (commuter) airline focused primarily on the west coast and which airports did it use that are still currently used by larger airlines today? I have other questions, but I’ll leave it there. Thanks for your help in advance. Please respond to email@example.com. Thanks again.
Correction: I mean regional, not commuter.
Mark said on December 9th, 2012 at 2:40 am :
Northeast Airlines - did anyone reading this page work for Northeast Airlines in 1962-63 in New Jersey? Im trying to locate a family member employee from that time, would be very grateful
Was there an airline called Capitol International Airlines operating in 1963-1964 that would have been flying charter flights in the United States using a Super G Lockheed Constellation?
Am questioning the date of the demise of Capital Airlines. My grandfather passed away in South Dakota on 18 Apr 1964. That night we took a red-eye National flight from DCA to I think MSP on a Vickers Viscount. Seem to remember the merger with United, perhaps it was taking place and the livery had not changed yet? Maybe I was in an alternate universe as all the sites I’ve visited showed the merger taking place in 1961. Yet as a boy of 13 and already of fan of flying, wonder about the discrepancy.
3 things that caused the demise of most larger airlines no longer in existance and it wasn’t greedy CEO’s…unions, unions and unions. FACT.
Update August 22, 2010: Thank you all for your invaluable comments. I will be making a separate page that will attempt to fix all the errors you’ve mentioned as well as my omissions! Clearly there’s a lot of interest in the topic, and I really enjoy your feedback. Stay tuned - I may be able to dedicate resources to transform all of this into some sort of mini book. I will try to reach out to everyone as best I can.
Operated: 1967 - 1987
Cause and result of demise: Ceased operations. Acquired piecemeal by American Airlines.
Interesting fact: One marketing program used by Air California in the early to mid 1970s was to offer school field trips to Sacramento at $25 a head, where school children would be taken on a tour of the California State Capitol, Governor’s Mansion, and Sutter’s Fort.
Image courtesy of dc-9.us.
Operated: 1971 - 1984
Cause and result of demise: Bankruptcy, sped up by the crash of the January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 crash in Washington DC - assets obtained by Midway Airlines.
Interesting fact: Air Florida sponsored Southampton Football Club, an English Football League side, during the 1983-84 season, in which Southampton were league runners-up. The deal was cancelled after one season due to Air Florida’s insolvency.
Image courtesy of securiteaerienne.
(Updated August 22, 2010)
Operated: 1953 - October 28, 1979, started in 1939 as All-American Airways.
Cause and result demise: Rebranded as USAir, then US Airways (source)
Interesting fact: It was one of the first airlines to create an affiliated branded network of regional airline carriers operating in unison with Allegheny, which was called the Allegheny Commuter System.
Image courtesy of William Demarest.
Operated: 1946 - 2008
Cause and result of demise: Chapter 11 bankruptcy, transfer of operations to Aloha Air Cargo.
Interesting fact: On April 28, 1988 Aloha Airlines Flight 243 was a scheduled Boeing 737-297 flight between Hilo and Honolulu in Hawaii. The aircraft suffered extensive damage after an explosive decompression in flight, but was able to land safely at Kahului Airport on Maui. The safe landing of the aircraft with such a major loss of integrity was unprecedented and remains unsurpassed.
Operated: 1928 - 1982
Cause and result of demise: Bankruptcy. Some flights scheduled to leave on May 12, 1982, at Dallas Fort Worth Airport were actually forced to disembark, being told that their airline no longer existed.
Interesting fact: A Braniff plane and logo always appear after the closing credits in the South Park cartoon series. With the slogan : “Braniff - Believe It!”
Operated: 1941 - 1961. (Had its origins as Pennsylvania Central Airlines from 1936)
Cause and result of demise: Merged into United Airlines
Interesting fact: In 1948, the first airborne television was installed on a Capital airplane.
Operated: 1949 - 1967
Cause and result of demise: Bankruptcy. Sold to Frontier Airlines.
Interesting fact: Former president of Venezuela Laurence Lau was present on the maiden flight.
Image courtesy of Paul Freeman.
Operated: 1985 - 1986
Cause and result of demise: Ceased service.
Interesting fact: It operated six Fokker F27 aircraft, and the call sign was “Wild Onion” in reference to the Chippewa Indian derivation of the name “Chicago.”
Image courtesy of David Oates.
Cause and result of demise: Bankruptcy
Interesting fact: An Ex-Airline Executive is set on purchasing the airline back under the original Eastern name, with the main hub being in MIA. It hopes to begin operations in the summer of 2009.
Operated: 1976 - 1985
Cause and result of demise: Purchased by Piedmont (see below), then USAir.
Image courtesy of Richard Silagi.
Operated: 1950 - 1986
Cause and result of demise: Bankruptcy. It re-emerged as the current Frontier Airlines in 1994 from executives of the old airline.
Interesting fact: Frontier Airlines made history when they hired Emily Howell Warner on January 29, 1973. She was the first female airline pilot hired by a U.S. commercial airline.
Image courtesy of Old Frontier Airlines Collection.
(Updated August 18, 2010)
Operated: 1968 - 1980
Cause and result of demise: Purchased by Republic Airlines in 1980.
Interesting fact: Hughes Airwest’s predecessor was Air West, which itself was a merger of Pacific Air Lines, Bonanza Air Lines and West Coast Airlines. TWA’s former owner and aviator Howard Hughes bought and rebranded the fleet in 1970. The unique yellow paint earned them the nickname of “Flying Bananas”, which they then turned into a company catchphrase: “Top Banana in the West”.
Operated: 1992 - 1999
Cause and result of demise: Bankruptcy. In 1997, a medical doctor Dr. Charles Edwards tried to revive the airline (with an investment of nearly $20,000,000 of his own money), but idea was sadly abandoned.
Interesting fact: Kiwi International Air Lines enjoyed a flawless safety record and near perfect dispatch reliability rate of 99.6% in its expansion.
Image courtesy of A. J. Best.
Operated: 1976 - 1991. Began operations on November 1979.
Cause and result of demise: Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Interesting fact: Some of the signature inflight service items were after-dinner chocolate wafer mints and hot hand towels to the entire cabin, both of which had originally caught on with Midway’s business clientele.
Image courtesy of Frank C. Duarte.
Operated: 1945 - 1972
Cause and result of demise: Labor issues and strikes caused it to consider merger with Allegheny (see below), later USAir.
Interesting fact: On February 11, 1958, Ruth Carol Taylor was hired by Mohawk Airlines, becoming the first African-American flight attendant in the United States. In 1961, it became the first airline to use a centralized computer based reservation service. In 1965, it became the first regional airline to utilize flight simulators.
Image courtesy of Tom Hildreth.
Operated: 1981 - 1987
Cause and result of demise: Liquidated by Southwest and renamed TranStar Airlines in 1985, and ceased operations in 1987.
Interesting fact: Started up by founder and one time president of Southwest Airlines, Marion Lamar Muse, it prohibited smoking on the plane long before federal regulations enforced it.
Image courtesy of lamarmuse.
(Updated August 18, 2010)
Operated: 1934 - 1980
Cause and result of demise: Texas International Airlines offered to buy National in 1978, but they opted instead to merge with Pam Am in 1980. Deregulation as well as high costs for the acquisition would eventually lead to Pam Am’s demise.
Interesting fact: In 1964, National became the first exclusively jet powered service in the United States. To supplement their branding and image (their logo was the Sun King, owing to the fact that they were based in Miami, Florida), they opened a terminal at JFK called the Sundrome in 1970.
Image courtesy of Tom Hildreth.
Cause and result demise: Financial, acquired by Continental
Interesting fact: New York Air was well known for its onboard bagged snacks, known as the “The Flying Nosh”, from the Yiddish word nash, “to eat sweets, nibble on”.
Operated: 1952 - 1979
Cause and result of demise: Merged with Southern Airways to become Republic Airlines, which became part of Northwest Airlines, which is now part of Delta.
Interesting fact: It had its origins in 1939, when the Four Wheel Drive Company (FWD), a major manufacturer of four-wheel transmissions and heavy-duty trucks based in Clintonville, Wisconsin, opened a flight department and traded a company truck for a WACO biplane for their company’s use.
(added August 16, 2010)
Operated: 1931 - 1972
Cause and result of demise: Merged with Delta on August 1, 1972.
Interesting fact: Northeast was perhaps most famous for its dramatic “Yellowbird” campaign where its new delivery of Boeing 727-200 in 1967 were painted white and yellow. Its humble beginnings were as Boston-Maine Airways, which operated out of Boston, and was a joint venture between Boston and Maine Railroad and Maine Central Railroad.
Photo by Bruce Drum.
(added August 16, 2010)
Operated: September 1950 - October 1986
Cause and result of demise: Merged with TWA.
Interesting fact: It operated a special toll-free number based in New Jersey between the 60s and 80s that required asking the telephone operator for number WX-8300. Also, comedian George Carlin once acted as a spokesperson for the airline.
Photo courtesy of AirNikon.
(added August 16, 2010)
Operated: 1946 - 1968
Cause and result of demise: Purchased by Howard Hughes to form Hughes Airwest, which was bought by Republic Airlines in 1980, which was bought by Northwest in 1986, which merged with Delta in 2009/2010.
Interesting fact: Pacific Air Lines Flight 773 crashed near San Ramon, CA on May 7, 1964, after a distressed passenger shot both the pilot and co-pilot before turning the gun on himself, causing the plane to crash and killing all 44 aboard. This was likely the first ever instance of a pilot being shot by a passenger. Pacific also launched a controversial ad campaign in 1967 designed to play upon passenger’s fears of flying. Flight attendants apparently handed out “survival kits” featuring hot-pink lunch pails containing a small security blanket, a “lucky” rabbit’s foot, the best-selling book “The Power of Positive Thinking”, and a fortune cookie containing the slogan “It could be worse. The pilot could be whistling ‘The High and the Mighty’.”
Photo by RuthAS.
Operated: 1949 - 1988
Cause and result demise: Financial, merged with USAirways, now reincarnated as commuter affiliate.
Interesting fact: With the slogan “The World’s Friendliest Airline,” PSA was known for its sense of humor and its recognizable trademark was a smile painted on the nose of each plane and an accompanying ad campaign declaring “Catch Our Smile.” After PSA was bought by USAir, ex-PSA mechanics would occasionally paint smiles on USAir planes as a joke.
Image courtesy of catchoursmile.com.
Operated: 1927 - 1991
Cause and result of demise: Bankruptcy, remaining assets acquired by Delta Air Lines.
Interesting fact: During the mid-1970s, there were two Pan Am flights operated around the world to set or break previous around-the-world flying records. Liberty Bell Express broke the commercial plane around-the-world record with 46 hours, 50 seconds, making only two stopovers during the journey, one in New Delhi and the other in Tokyo-Haneda. The other was over the North Pole using the Clipper New Horizons, which was actually the same plane as the Liberty Bell Express, and took 54 hours, 7 minutes, and 12 seconds.
Operated: 1981 - 1987
Cause and result demise: Sale to Texas Air holding, integrated into Continental Airlines.
Interesting fact: The airline used a simplified fare structure whereby all seats on a given route were offered at the same price, with slight differences between “Peak” and “Off-Peak” fares. All seats were in economy class, with the exception of “Premium Class” seating on overseas flights. Fares were paid on the flight.
Operated: 1948 - 1989
Cause and result demise: Integrated into USAirways, and still operates as Piedmont Airlines.
Interesting fact: A original Piedmont Airlines DC-3 is located unrestored at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina. It still has its original paint scheme and parts.
Image courtesy of Ed Coates.
(updated August 18, 2010)
Operated: 1985 - 1989
Cause and result of demise: Merged with Colgan Air in 1986, then became a feeder airline for Continental in 1987 and United in 1988. Eventually went bankrupt.
Interesting fact: It was founded in 1985 by Harold J. (Hap) Pareti, formerly an officer at People Express, as a low-cost carrier.
Image courtesy of dc-9.us.
(Updated August 18, 2010)
Operated: 1992 - 1999
Cause and result of demise: Integrated into American Airlines.
Image courtesy of Richard Silagi.
Operated: 1979 - 1986
Cause and result of demise: Bought by Northwest Orient, which rebranded itself after the merger as Northwest.
Interesting fact: Apparently it is still possible to find a few old Republic logos around Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and Memphis International Airport if one looks hard enough.
Operated: 1949 - 1979
Cause and result of demise: Merged with North Central Airlines to become Republic Airlines.
Interesting fact: Southern Airways billed itself as the “Route of the Aristocrats.” and used the slogan “Nobody’s Second Class on Southern” in its television commercials. It was famous for its promotional shot glasses: for a time, a differently designed shot glass was issued each year. Original Southern shot glasses are valued by collectors of the airline’s memorabilia.
(Updated August 18, 2010)
Operated: 1944 - 1982
Cause and result demise: Texas Air, a holding company, bought Continental, filed for bankruptcy, and reemerged as Continental Airlines.
Interesting fact: It was known as Trans-Texas Airways until 1969 and its acronym then allowed competitors to derisively call it “Tree Top Airlines” and “Tinker Toy Airlines”. It ran an ad campaign to counter it with a tagline: “No More Tinker Toys. No More Treetops. We are now Texas International Airlines.” It apparently remains to this day the only carrier to bring jet service to the airports in Abilene, Hot Springs, Wichita Falls, San Angelo, Roswell, Hobbs and Texarkana.
Operated: 1983 - 2000
Cause and result demise: Bankruptcy
Interesting fact: Tower Air was prominently featured in such movies as Liar Liar and Turbulence.
Operated: 1925 - 2001
Cause and result of demise: Bankruptcy, acquired by American Airlines.
Interesting fact: In the 1950s the TWA Moonliner, a futuristic exhibit that was placed by Howard Hughes, was the tallest structure at Disneyland and depicted atomic-powered travel to come in 1986.
Operated: 1993 - 1997
Cause and result of demise: ValuJet Flight 592, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, crashed in the Florida Everglades on May 11, 1996 due to a fire caused by the activation of chemical oxygen generators that were stored in the cargo hold. The fire damaged the plane’s electrical system and eventually overcame the crew, resulting in the deaths of 110 people.
Interesting fact: In order to save itself from the damaging effects of negative publicity, it took on a reverse merger with the much smaller company AirWays Corp. (currently AirTran Holdings). It thus now operates AirTran Airways.
Operated: 1926 - 1986
Cause and result of demise: Merged with Delta Air Lines after failed buyout from Air Florida.
Interesting fact: During the 1970s, they promoted themselves as “the champagne airline” because champagne was offered free of charge to every adult passenger over 21 years old.
Where unmentioned, photos are from Wikipedia.