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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 12:42   #1 (permalink)

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Old USA Airlines

I received this by email the other day, there are photos too, will post them later if I have a bit more time otherwise if anyone wants them, PM and I'll forward the email.


Remember These Airlines?

Did you ever say, "Whatever happened to ###### airlines?"

"What was the name of that air carrier that ...?"

Finally, someone published a history of what airline merged, bought, sold, bankrupted, screwed, saved, bailed out, etc.,
in a short concise manner.

Air California

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.

Air Florida

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.

Allegheny Airlines

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.

Aloha Airlines

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.

Braniff International Airways

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!”

Capital Airlines

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.

Central Airlines

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.

Chicago Air

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.

Eastern Airlines

Operated: 1926-1991
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 sometime in 2011.

Empire Airlines

Operated: 1976 - 1985
Cause and result of demise: Purchased by Piedmont (see below), then USAir.

Frontier Airlines

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.

Hughes Air west

Operated: 1968 - 1980
Cause and result of demise: Purchased by Republic Airlines in 1980.
Interesting fact: Hughes Air west’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”.

Kiwi International Airlines

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.

Midway Airlines

Operated: 1976 - 1991. Began operations on November 1979.
Cause and result of demise: Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Interesting fact: Some of the signature in-flight 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.

Mohawk Airlines

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.

Muse Air

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.

National Airlines

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.

New York Air

Operated: 1980-1987
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”.

North Central Airlines

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.

Northeast Airlines

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.

Ozark Airlines

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.

Pacific Air Lines / Southwest Airways

Operated: 1946 - 1968
Cause and result of demise: Purchased by Howard Hughes to form Hughes Air west, 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’.”

Pacific Southwest Airlines

Operated: 1949 - 1988
Cause and result demise: Financial, merged with US Airways, now reincarnated as commuter affiliate.
Interesting fact: With the slogan “The World’s Friendliest Airline,” PSA was known for its sense of humour 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.

Pan American World Airways

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.

Peoplexpress Airlines

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.

Piedmont Airlines

Operated: 1948 - 1989
Cause and result demise: Integrated into US Airways, 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.

Presidential Airways

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.


Operated: 1992 - 1999
Cause and result of demise: Integrated into American Airlines.

Republic Airlines

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 MemphisInternational Airport if one looks hard enough.

Southern Airways

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.

Texas International Airlines

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 tag line: “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.

Tower Air

Operated: 1983 - 2000
Cause and result demise: Bankruptcy
Interesting fact: Tower Air was prominently featured in such movies as Liar Liar and Turbulence.

Trans World Airlines

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.

Western Airlines

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.
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 16:41   #2 (permalink)
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National "first"

From wikipedia:

On December 10, 1958, National became the first airline to introduce domestic jet service in the United States, with a flight between Miami's International Airport and Idlewild International Airport in New York City. The first jet flight used a leased Pan Am Boeing 707, flown by National flight crews.
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 16:54   #3 (permalink)
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TWA skullduggery

TWA'a Howard Hughes, seeking to gain control of the early jetliner deliveries, ordered 300 JT3 engines from P&W in 1956, even though he had not yet selected aircraft for all of them.
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 18:11   #4 (permalink)
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ONA TIA & Saturn
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 18:21   #5 (permalink)
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Frontier, I believe part of the pilot's uniform was spurs.
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 22:25   #6 (permalink)
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Colonial Airlines
Flew to numerous stops in New York State and to Montreal, Canada and also New York to Bermuda. Acquired by Eastern Airlines in 1956. Flew DC-3 and DC-4 Aircraft.

Trans Carribean Airlines
Started as a non-scheduled airline flying New York to San Jan, Puerto Rico. Obtained a certificate a certificate it flew DC-4 and DC-6 aircraft. It later flew DC-6B and then DC8-51 and DC8-61. Bought by American Airlines in 1971 who briefly operated their DC8-61 aircraft.
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 23:24   #7 (permalink)
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Gatwick, 1970's:
In addition to those already mentioned:
DC-8 operators including:
Capitol International
Airlift International
Flying Tigers
In addition:
Aero America (720/707),
Alaska International (L100),
Modern Air (CV-990's)
And of course, albeit not LGW regulars, Seaboard World, with DC-8's into LHR. Also regularly saw their 747's overflying en-route to Frankfurt.
Great days, and such a variety of carrier's!

I'm sure there are many more!
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 03:09   #8 (permalink)
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Spent 2 very pleasant years working for The World’s Friendliest Airline at Scripps Ranch San Diego in the mid 80s. Their slogan was I believe totally justified.

A quarter or a century later I still have fantastic memories of PSA.
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 17:46   #9 (permalink)
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In 1977 I positIoned from Gatwick to Minneapolis St Pauls in a TRANSAMERICA DC8.They operated non-sched passenger and cargo flights worldwide.

Last edited by brakedwell; 4th Apr 2011 at 21:00.
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 19:34   #10 (permalink)
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Some great airlines in the list, apparently good places to work, where you knew a lot of your co-workers. Back when flying was glamourous and oil was cheap(er). I managed to fly on a few on the list and i appreciated the different character and culture within each company in comparison to the homogenous offerings of today at both ends of the price spectrum.

Ultimately they were victims of economics or the vengeful arrogance of predators, such as Mr Lorenzo, sucked in, chewed up and spat out

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Old 5th Apr 2011, 03:23   #11 (permalink)
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Eastern Air Lines was the first US carrier to operate an Airbus aircraft when it leased 4 white-tail A300B4s in 1977.

Northwest Airlines bent their first Lockheed 10 in August 1934 - fuel exhaustion on takeoff. The CAB accident report somehow overlooked the curious fact that NWA was operating the aircraft in revenue service several days BEFORE Lockheed was granted the type certificate for its model 10.
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