National Airlines (1934–1980)

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National Airlines
National70.png
IATA
NA
ICAO
NAL
Callsign
NATIONAL
Founded1934
Ceased operations1980
(acquired by Pan Am)
HubsMiami International Airport
Focus citiesJacksonville International Airport
New York International Airport
New Orleans Moisant Field
Tampa International Airport
HeadquartersMiami-Dade County, Florida
Key peopleGeorge T. Baker
(founder, CEO 1934-1962)
Louis "Bud" Maytag
(CEO 1962-1980)
 
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This article is about one of the airlines that have shared this name. For other uses of the name, see National Airlines (disambiguation). For 'national airlines', see Flag carrier.
National Airlines
National70.png
IATA
NA
ICAO
NAL
Callsign
NATIONAL
Founded1934
Ceased operations1980
(acquired by Pan Am)
HubsMiami International Airport
Focus citiesJacksonville International Airport
New York International Airport
New Orleans Moisant Field
Tampa International Airport
HeadquartersMiami-Dade County, Florida
Key peopleGeorge T. Baker
(founder, CEO 1934-1962)
Louis "Bud" Maytag
(CEO 1962-1980)

National Airlines was a United States airline that operated from 1934 to 1980.[1] For most of its existence the company was headquartered at Miami International Airport, Florida.[2] At its height, National Airlines had a network of "Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast" flights, linking Florida and the Gulf Coast with cities along the East Coast and large cities on the West Coast.[3] From 1970 to 1978 National, Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) and Trans World Airlines (TWA) were the only U.S. airlines that operated scheduled passenger flights to Europe.[4]

History[edit]

The original logo of National Airlines, used from the 1930s[5] to the early 1960s.[6]

1930s[edit]

National Airlines was founded by George T. Baker in 1934, originally being headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida and based at the city's Albert Whitted Airport.[7] On 15 October of that year, revenue flights were launched, initially transporting passengers and mail from St. Petersburg to a few destinations within Florida using a fleet of two Ryan ST monoplanes.[7][8] In 1935, the Stinson Trimotor was introduced with National Airlines,[9] which were soon replaced by the Lockheed Model 10 Electra.[5] In 1939, the company headquarters were moved to Jacksonville.[7] By the end of the decade, the National Airlines network spanned from Miami to New Orleans,[10] on what it called the Buccaneer Route.[4]

1940s[edit]

Revenue passenger miles for years ending 30 June:[11]

In 1940 the Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar became the backbone of National's fleet.[12] National was awarded rights from Florida to New York City and other cities along the East Coast in 1944, with flights starting in 1945.[13] In 1946 National got approval to fly to Havana, Cuba, which coincided with the introduction of the Douglas DC-4.[7] The DC-4 allowed non-stop flights between Miami and New York[14] that started on February 14, 1946. Later that year National relocated its headquarters to Miami International Airport; a maintenance base opened at Miami in 1950.[7][15]

The Douglas DC-6, National's first pressurized airliner, began flights on July 1, 1947[7] and reduced New York to Miami flight time from five to four hours.[7] Flights on the DC-6 were marketed as Star Service.[4] National ran the Piggy Bank Vacations campaign, promoting low-fare flights to Florida during the off-peak summer season.[16]

1950s[edit]

This decade saw the introduction of the Convair 340/440, the Douglas DC-7,[16] and the Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation.[17] On 10 December 1958 National became the first airline to operate domestic jet flights, using a Boeing 707 leased from Pan American World Airways between Miami and New York.[7] In 1959 the Lockheed L-188 Electra was introduced into the fleet as another new type for National and was the only turboprop aircraft type ever operated by the airline.[18] At the end of the decade Houston and Boston were the ends of the network with heavy emphasis on service between Florida and the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast.[17]

1960s[edit]

With the award of traffic rights on the southern transcontinental route on March 11, 1961 National Airlines gained access to California and began operating new Douglas DC-8 jetliners between Florida and Los Angeles and San Francisco with a number of flights making intermediate stops in Houston and/or New Orleans[7][19] (previously, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and National had together operated Douglas DC-6 and DC-7 propliner aircraft with interchange through-service between Miami and California).[16] In March 1962, National was operating only one round trip transcontinental nonstop service: National flight numbers 34 and 35 between Miami and Los Angeles which were both flown with DC-8 jets.[20] According to the front cover of its system timetable at the time, National billed itself as the "Airline of the Stars". Concerning international destinations in Central and South America, a cooperation involving interchange flights with Pan Am was set up.[6]

Also during the early 1960s, National inaugurated new service with the Lockheed Electra propjet to Las Vegas and San Diego.[19] Eastbound coast to coast routes flown with the Electra at this time included San Diego-Los Angeles-Houston-New Orleans-Miami and San Francisco-Las Vegas-Houston-New Orleans-Tampa-Orlando-Jacksonville.[19] National was also operating other long, multistop routings with the Electra as this time such as Boston-New York City-Jacksonville-Orlando-Tampa-New Orleans-Houston-Las Vegas-San Francisco. National flight number 223 departed Boston at 7:30am and arrived in San Francisco at 8:42pm with this latter routing being flown on a daily basis.[19] Total travel time for this flight was 16 hours and 12 minutes.

In 1962 Louis Bergman "Bud" Maytag, Jr. (grandson of Maytag Corporation founder Frederick Louis Maytag I), who had previously led Frontier Airlines[21] bought a majority share in National Airlines and replaced George T. Baker as CEO.[7] In 1960, the airline modernized its fleet with new Douglas DC-8 jetliners which were then followed by ten new Boeing 727-100 trijets,[13] the first of which was delivered in 1964. After the retirement of the Electras in 1968, National became an all-jet airline with the DC-8 and 727.[7] The Douglas DC-8 fleet included the stretched Super DC-8-61 which was the largest aircraft type operated by the airline until the introduction of new wide body jetliners such as the Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10. In 1969, National was operating the Super DC-8 nonstop between Miami and New York JFK airport and also nonstop between Miami and Los Angeles with these flights having specific names such as "The Royal Biscayne", "The Royal Dolphin", "The Gotham" and the "The Manhattan" between Miami and New York, and "The Californian" and "The Caribbean" between Miami and Los Angeles.[22]

On July 26, 1969 the Atlanta-San Francisco nonstop route was awarded to National and service began on October 1, 1969. It was National's only route out of Atlanta.

1970s[edit]

Revenue passenger traffic, in millions of passenger-miles (scheduled flights only, domestic and international)[23][full citation needed]
YearPax-Miles
1951432
1955905
19601041
19652663
19702643
19753865

A $17 million IBM electronic computer reservation system, called Res-A-Vision, was completed and put into operation in 1970.

On 16 June 1970 National Airlines reintroduced international flights, when their Miami-London route opened (flights to Cuba were suspended in 1961 due to the Cuban Revolution).[13] With the London route, they became the third U.S. transatlantic passenger carrier, after Pan Am and TWA.

In October, the Boeing 747-100 jumbo jet, at that time the largest commercial airliner, entered service with National on the Miami-New York nonstop route on October 1, 1970 and the Miami-Los Angeles transcontinental nonstop route on October 25, 1970.[7] National sold its 747s in May 1976. Also in 1970, National Airlines opened their own terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which was dubbed the Sundrome.[24]

Having placed an order for ten aircraft back in 1969,[13] the wide body McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 was put in service on the Miami-New York route on December 15, 1971.[7] A 1971 publicity campaign designed by F. William Free promoting National's flight attendants was criticized by the National Organization for Women as being sexist due to the slogan "I'm Cheryl. Fly me.", or similar.[25][26] In May 1973, the front cover of the airline's system timetable proudly proclaimed, "National has daily nonstop 747s from Miami to London".[27] By early 1976, the airline was operating scheduled wide body DC-10 service to Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New Orleans (MSY), Orlando (MCO), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO), Tampa (TPA) and all three airports in the New York City area: John F. Kennedy (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR).[28] With the advent of the intercontinental McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30, National Airlines then expanded their European network by adding Paris (inaugurated on 22 June 1977), as well as Frankfurt, Amsterdam (both in 1978)[7] and Zurich (in 1979).[8] National began the very first nonstop flights from New Orleans to Europe (to Amsterdam) on July 2, 1978. National then began nonstop New York Kennedy (JFK)-Amsterdam flights on December 13, 1978, taking the route over from Pan Am.

In the late 1970s, several airlines tried to take over National Airlines, who had become a major player in the southern transcontinental and Florida-East Coast airline markets.[29] In 1978, Texas International Airlines (which was led by Frank Lorenzo at that time) acquired 24.6 percent of the shares,[1] but did not succeed in the subsequent tender offer takeover bid. A similar attempt was made by Eastern Air Lines in 1979.[1] At the same time, the shares held by Texas International were sold to Pan American World Airways, who emerged as a white knight and succeeded in accumulating a controlling majority. On 7 January 1980, the acquisition was completed,[1] with Pan Am taking over the National Airlines fleet and route network.

Route network[edit]

National McDonnell Douglas DC-10 at Heathrow in 1974

National Airlines operated scheduled flights to the following U.S. cities:

LocationStateAirport(s)BeganEndedNotes
MobileAlabamaMobile Municipal Airport
1938[10]
1980
Los AngelesCaliforniaLos Angeles International Airport
1961[7][30]
1980
San DiegoCaliforniaSan Diego International Airport
1961[7][30]
1980
San FranciscoCaliforniaSan Francisco International Airport
1961[7][30]
1980
San JoseCaliforniaSan Jose International Airport
1976-77
1979
Daytona BeachFloridaDaytona Beach Airport
1934[7][31]
1980
Fort LauderdaleFloridaFort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport
1958-59
1980
Fort MyersFloridaPage Field
1937[5]
1980
JacksonvilleFloridaJacksonville Municipal Airport
1935[8]
1980
focus city
Key WestFloridaKey West International Airport
ca. 1943[32]
ca. 1970[33]
LakelandFloridaLakeland Municipal Airport (Drane Field)
1934[5][7]
1962[6]
MarathonFloridaFlorida Keys Marathon Airport
1959
1961[6]
MariannaFloridaMarianna Municipal Airport
1938[10]
1961[6]
MelbourneFloridaMelbourne Airport
1959[6]
1980
MiamiFloridaMiami Municipal Airport
Miami International Airport
1937[5]
1980
main base
OrlandoFloridaOrlando Municipal Airport
Orlando International Airport
1934[5][7]
1980
Palm BeachFloridaMorrison Field
ca. 1944[32]
1980
Panama CityFloridaPanama City-Bay County Airport
1948[14]
1980
PensacolaFloridaPensacola Municipal Airport
1938[10]
1980
SarasotaFloridaSarasota-Brandenton Airport
1937[5]
1980
St. PetersburgFloridaAlbert Whitted Airport
St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport
1934[5][7]
1961[6]
TallahasseeFloridaTallahassee Municipal Airport
1938[10]
1980
TampaFloridaDavis Islands Airport
Tampa International Airport
1934[5][7]
1980
focus city
AtlantaGeorgiaWilliam B. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport
1969
1978
SavannahGeorgiaSavannah Airport
1945-46[32]
1980
ValdostaGeorgiaValdosta Regional Airport
1946[14]
1960[6]
New OrleansLouisianaShushan Airport
New Orleans International Airport
1938[10]
1980
focus city
BaltimoreMarylandFriendship Airport
1950 (Harbor Field 1948)[15]
1980
BostonMassachusettsLogan International Airport
1956-57[17][7]
1980
GulfportMississippiGulfport-Biloxi Airport
1938[10]
1959-60[6]
Las VegasNevadaMcCarran International Airport
1961[6][7]
1980
NewarkNew JerseyNewark Airport
1946[6]
1980
New York CityNew YorkIdlewild/Kennedy Airport
1948[13][32]
1980
focus city
New York CityNew YorkLaGuardia Airport
start 1944, end 1947
resume 1966[13][32]
1980
FayettevilleNorth CarolinaFayetteville Municipal Airport
1956-57[17]
1962[3]
New BernNorth CarolinaSimmons-Nott Airport
1946[14]
1962[3]
WilmingtonNorth CarolinaBluethenthal Field
1945-46[32]
1962[3]
PhiladelphiaPennsylvaniaPhiladelphia International Airport
1945[32]
1980
ProvidenceRhode IslandT. F. Green Airport
1956-57[17]
1980
CharlestonSouth CarolinaCharleston Airport
1945[32]
1980
HoustonTexasWilliam P. Hobby Airport
Houston Intercontinental Airport
1956[17][7]
1980
Newport NewsVirginiaNewport News/Williamsburg International Airport
1955[17]
1980
NorfolkVirginiaNorfolk Airport
1945[32]
1980
RichmondVirginiaRichmond International Airport
1948[15]
1971[34]
SeattleWashingtonSeattle–Tacoma International Airport
April 1, 1979[4]
1980
Washington, D.C.Washington National Airport
1948[15]
1980

National also operated scheduled flights to the following destinations in Europe and the Caribbean:

LocationCountryAirportCommencedCeased
HavanaCubaJosé Martí International Airport
1946[15][7]
1961[13]
ParisFranceOrly Airport
June 22, 1977[7][33]
1980
AmsterdamNetherlandsAmsterdam Airport Schiphol
May 4, 1978[7][33]
1980
San JuanPuerto RicoLuis Muñoz Marín International Airport
April 1, 1979[7][35]
1980
ZurichSwitzerlandZurich Airport
July 22, 1979[8]
1980
LondonUnited KingdomLondon Heathrow Airport
June 16, 1970[7][33]
1980
FrankfurtWest GermanyFrankfurt Airport
May 1, 1978[7][33]
1980

Fleet[edit]

A Boeing 727 in the livery of National Airlines landing at Miami International Airport (1980). The airline had already been taken over by Pan Am.

When National Airlines was acquired by Pan Am in 1980, the fleet consisted of forty-three (43) Boeing 727 aircraft (nineteen (19) of the original series 100 model and twenty-four (24) of the stretched series 200 variant), as well as sixteen (16) McDonnell Douglas DC-10 airliners (eleven (11) of the series 10 model used in domestic service and five (5) of the intercontinental series 30 model used for service to Europe).[36]

Over the years, National owned the following aircraft types:[1]

AircraftIntroducedRetired
Boeing 727 (includes B727-100 and stretched B727-200)
1964[37]
1980[36]
Boeing 747-100
1970[38]
1976[38]
Convair CV-340/440[17]
Curtiss C-46 Commando
Douglas DC-2
Douglas DC-4
1947[7]
Douglas DC-6
1947[7]
Douglas DC-7
Douglas DC-8 (includes stretched Super DC-8-61)
1960[38]
1975[38]
Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar[13]
1940[12]
Lockheed L-188 Electra
1959[18]
1968[7]
Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation
Lockheed Model 10 Electra[5]
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 (includes DC-10-10 and DC-10-30)
1971[38]
1980[38]
Ryan ST[7]
1934
Stinson Trimotor[9]
1935

Sun King Club[edit]

Domestic[edit]

International[edit]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

Fatal[edit]

The wreckage of Flight 193 (1978).

Non-fatal[edit]

Hijackings[edit]

Between 1961 and 1980, 22 (attempted) hijackings on board National Airlines occurred, which involved the aircraft being demanded to be flown to Cuba. In 1969 alone, there were nine such occurrences.[52] The reasons of these events can be attributed to the tense Cuba–United States relations at that time, and the strong focus of National Airlines on the southeastern United States. See List of Cuba – United States aircraft hijackings for more information.

There were several other criminal acts involving National Airlines aircraft:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Information about National Airlines at the Aero Transport Data Bank
  2. ^ "Walkout by 3,500 Cancels All Flights Of National Airlines." The New York Times. Sunday February 1, 1970. Page 58. Retrieved on September 24, 2009. "Pickets marched at National's headquarters at Miami International Airport"
  3. ^ a b c d National Airlines 1964 timetable, at timetableimages.com
  4. ^ a b c d Image collection of National Airlines timetables, at timetableimages.com
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 1937 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 1962 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai National Airlines history, at Nationalsundowners.com, the Organization of Former Stewardesses and Flight Attendants with the Original National Airlines.
  8. ^ a b c d Photos of National Airlines timetables and route maps, at airtimes.com
  9. ^ a b NAL: The 1930s, at Nationalsundowners.com, the Organization of Former Stewardesses and Flight Attendants with the Original National Airlines.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g National Airlines 1938 timetable, at timetableimages.com
  11. ^ American Aviation 1 Sept 1946 p19
  12. ^ a b NAL: The 1940s, at Nationalsundowners.com, the Organization of Former Stewardesses and Flight Attendants with the Original National Airlines.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Airline to the playgrounds of the world. The Boeing Magazine, January 1964 [1][2][3]
  14. ^ a b c d National Airlines 1947 timetable, at timetableimages.com
  15. ^ a b c d e National Airlines 1952 timetable, at timetableimages.com
  16. ^ a b c National Airlines 1954 timetable, at timetableimages.com
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h National Airlines 1958 timetable, at timetableimages.com
  18. ^ a b Image of National Airlines 1959 advert, at airtimes.com
  19. ^ a b c d http://www.timetableimages.com, March 2, 1962 National Airlines system timetable
  20. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Mar. 2, 1962 National Airlines system timetable
  21. ^ "Lewis Maytag Jr., Heir And National Airlines Chief". http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1990-09-26/news/9002160111_1_national-airlines-maytag-aircraft-corp-mr-maytag. 
  22. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, July 15, 1969 National Airlines system timetable, Miami-New York and Miami-Los Angeles flight schedules
  23. ^ Handbook of Airline Statistics (biannual CAB publication)
  24. ^ Information about the Sundrome by its architects, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
  25. ^ NOW criticism of the National Airlines "Fly Me" campaign
  26. ^ Stuart Lavietes (2003-01-08). "F. William Free, 74, Ad Man Behind 'Fly Me'". The New York Times. 
  27. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, May 1, 1973 National Airlines system timetable front cover
  28. ^ Feb. 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide (OAG), National Airlines flight schedules for EWR, IAH, JFK, LAS, LAX, LGA, MIA, MSY, MCO, SAN, SFO and TPA.
  29. ^ Christian, J. Scott, former Continental employee and manager, Bring Songs to the Sky: Recollections of Continental Airlines, 1970-1986, Quadran Press, 1998.
  30. ^ a b c National Airlines 1967 timetable, at timetableimages.com
  31. ^ National Airlines 1941 timetable, at timetableimages.com
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i National Airlines 1945 timetable, at timetableimages.com
  33. ^ a b c d e National Airlines 1978 routemap, at airtimes.com
  34. ^ National Airlines 1969 timetable, at timetableimages.com
  35. ^ National Airlines 1979 timetable and routemap, at departedflights.com
  36. ^ a b "World Airline Directory". Flight International. July 26, 1980. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  37. ^ Roach, John; Eastwood, Tony (1992). Jet Airliner Production List. West Drayton, England: The Aviation Hobby Shop. ISBN 0-907178-43-X. 
  38. ^ a b c d e f National Airlines fleet list at planespotters.net
  39. ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 16 at the Aviation Safety Network>
  40. ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 83 at the Aviation Safety Network
  41. ^ "Take Your Time". Time. Jan 22, 1951. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  42. ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 101 at the Aviation Safety Network
  43. ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 967 at the Aviation Safety Network
  44. ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 2511 at the Aviation Safety Network
  45. ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 27 at the Aviation Safety Network
  46. ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 193 at the Aviation Safety Network
  47. ^ September 1945 National Airlines accident at the Aviation Safety Network
  48. ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 23 at the Aviation Safety Network
  49. ^ 1950 landing accident at the Aviation Safety Network
  50. ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 1 at the Aviation Safety Network
  51. ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 429 at the Aviation Safety Network
  52. ^ List of accidents and incidents involving National Airlines, at the Aviation Safety Network
  53. ^ Report of the hijacking of National Airlines Flight 745 at the Aviation Safety Network
  54. ^ 40 years later: The day a 727 landed at Lake Jackson, at chron.com
  55. ^ Report of the 1974 National Airlines hijacking at the Aviation Safety Network
  56. ^ Report of the 1975 National Airlines hijacking at the Aviation Safety Network

Bibliography[edit]