This article is about one of the airlines that have shared this name. For other uses of the name, see National Airlines
. For 'national airlines' see Flag carrier
National Airlines was a United States airline that operated from 1934 to 1980. For most of its existence, the company was headquartered near Miami, on the grounds of Miami International Airport in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida.
The original logo of National Airlines, used from the 1930s
to the early 1960s.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2011) |
Under the leadership of their president and founder, George T. Baker, National operated primarily within Florida, the Gulf Coast and the southeastern United States until 1944, when they gained authorization to operate the route between New York City and Miami, Florida. The airline was headquartered in St. Petersburg at Whitted Airport and Jacksonville before moving their home base to Miami.
Lucrative international service to Havana, Cuba began in 1946 and continued until suspended in 1961.
The National Airlines route network expanded west to Houston, Texas and north to Boston, Massachusetts in 1956.
Revenue passenger traffic, in millions of passenger-miles (scheduled flights only, domestic plus international)
On December 10, 1958 National was the first airline to schedule a domestic jet passenger flight in the United States with a flight between Miami International Airport and Idlewild Airport in New York City. The flights used leased Pan Am Boeing 707s flown by National crews; in February 1959 National scheduled 17 round trips a week. 707 flights ended that summer, then resumed for the winter; in February 1960 National added flights with their own Douglas DC-8-21.
Routes from Florida to California via Houston, including the first non-stop transcontinental service from Miami, were added in 1961 in the CAB's Southern Tier service case.
In 1964 National became the United States' first all-turbine-powered trunk airline (Douglas DC-8s and Lockheed Electra prop-jets); in 1970 they became the third U.S. transatlantic passenger carrier with the inauguration of daily nonstop DC-8s between Miami and London's Heathrow Airport.
In 1970 the company opened a terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport called the Sundrome, in reference to "Sun King" logo which was part of National Airlines' new branding. The Sundrome, vacant following JetBlue Airways's move to the new Terminal 5, was demolished in 2011 despite the efforts of preservationists. It was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. By the late 1970s, National operated a large fleet of Boeing 727 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft.
National was known by advertising slogans such as "The Buccaneer Route (1940s)", "Airline of the Stars (1950s-60s)", and their "Fly Me" campaign of the 1970s, during which aircraft were given female names, and flight attendants were featured in broadcast and print media campaigns. Some aircraft were named for celebrities, including Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis, in whose 1960 film The Bellboy both National and Miami Beach's Fontainebleau Hotel had featured roles.
Until losing their license in 1962, National also owned Miami television station and ABC affiliate WPST (Channel 10). The station continues today as WPLG under the ownership of Post-Newsweek Stations.
In the autumn of 1978 the management of Texas International Airlines, a regional airline based in Houston under leadership of entrepreneur and corporate raider Frank Lorenzo, attempted a tender offer acquisition of National Airlines. With headquarters in Miami and hubs there and in New Orleans, Houston, and Los Angeles, acquisition of National would have allowed tiny Texas International to expand substantially beyond their south-central U.S. service area. National was strong in the north-south market along the east coast, and probably had the strongest east-west routes along the southern tier.
National management and unions fought the TI acquisition stubbornly, and finally consummated a merger with Pan Am, who had emerged as a 'white knight' during the takeover battle. Texas International walked away from their foiled attempt with a multi-million dollar stock profit, and they were poised for Lorenzo's next ventures: a startup airline in the high-density East Coast corridor (New York Air) and the subsequent acquisition of Continental Airlines.
National was acquired by Pan Am in 1980, and their operations were merged into those of the larger carrier. Pan Am continued to utilize the former National Miami maintenance base and headquarters building until Pan Am itself ceased operations in December 1991. Much later, National's "Sun King" logo was sold and repackaged much like Pan Am's to appear upon start-up low cost carrier Southeast Airlines aircraft.
Most industry analysts believe that Pan Am paid too high a price for National, and that they were ill prepared to integrate National's domestic route network with Pan Am's own globe-girdling international network. The cultures of National and Pan Am also proved to be incompatible, making workforce integration difficult.
During the 1930s and 1940s, National Airlines operated scheduled flights linking the most important cities of the southeastern United States, on what it dubbed the buccaneer route: New Orleans-Mobile-Pensacola-Tallahassee-Jacksonville-Daytona Beach-Orlando-Lakeland-Tampa, Florida-St. Petersburg-Miami-Key West. By 1945, the network had been expanded with the northern Jacksonville-Savannah- Charleston-Wilmington-Norfolk-Philadelphia-New York City route. The first international route to Havana, Cuba (departing from New York via Miami and Tampa) was launched in 1947, coinciding with the introduction of the Douglas DC-4 into the National Airlines fleet. By 1954, the lucrative Havana service had been upgraded to the Douglas DC-6, whilst the important Miami-New York route was operated using the Douglas DC-7. Following the Cuban Revolution and the communist government led by Fidel Castro taking over power in 1959, the Havana service was dropped.
By 1958, the National Airlines network had been expanded to inlude Houston and Boston as furthest points. Coast-to-coast flights from Florida to California (San Francisco and Los Angeles]]) had been launched by 1962 with the advent of the jet age (in National Airlines' case, the introduction of the Douglas DC-8).
In 1978, National Airlines became one of at that time three large US airline to offer flights to Europe, serving London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
When National Airlines was acquired by Pan Am in 1980, the fleet consisted of 43 Boeing 727 aircraft (19 of the -100 and 24 of the -200 variant), as well as 16 McDonnell Douglas DC-10 airliners (11 of the -10 version and 5 of the -30 version).
Over the years, National operated the following aircraft types:
This transport-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it
Incidents and accidents
- On 2 October 1945, Flight 16, a Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar (registered NC18199) crashed into a lake near Lakeland, Florida at 01:05 local time. The scheduled passenger flight had originated in Tampa, when the pilots encountered technical problems during approach of Lakeland Airport, which resulted in a failed go-around attempt. Of the 15 people on board, two passengers died.
- On 14 January 1951, 7 of the 28 passengers on board Flight 83 died when the aircraft, a Douglas DC-4 (registered N74685) overshot the runway and crashed into a ditch at Philadelphia International Airport. The pilots of the flight from New York City had tried to land the aircraft too far down the runway, instead of aborting the approach.
- On 11 February 1952, a National Airlines Douglas DC-6 (registered N90891) crashed shortly after take-off from Newark Airport due to a failing propeller, which caused the pilots to lose control of the aircraft. Of the 59 passengers that had been on thid Flight 101 to Miami, 26 died, as well as three of the four crew members. Furthermore, there were four ground casualties.
- With 46 fatalities (41 passengers and 5 crew), the disaster of Flight 470 on 14 February 1953 marks the worst accident in the history of National Airlines. The aircraft, a DC-6 registered N90893, crashed into the Gulf of Mexico 20 mi (32 km) off Mobile Point enroute a flight from Tampa to New Orleans, after having encountered severe turbulences.
- On 16 November 1959 at 00:55 local time, another National Airlines aircraft, a Douglas DC-7 (registered N4891C) crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, the cause of which could not be determined. The 36 passengers and 6 crew that had been on Flight 967 from Tampa to New Orleans died in the accident 35.6 mi (57.3 km) off the coast of Pilottown, Louisiana.
- On 6 January 1960, a bomb exploded on board the DC-6 registered N8225H enroute Flight 2511 from New York to Miami. In the subsequent crash of the aircraft near Bolivia, North Carolina, all 29 passengers and five crew died.
- On 3 November 1973, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 (registered N60NA) suffered an uncontained engine failure during Flight 27 from Houston to Las Vegas. Pieces of of the turbine penetrated the fuselage, creating a hole in the passenger cabin. One passenger was sucked outside and died.
- On 8 May 1978 at 21:20 local time, Flight 193 went down into Escambia Bay near Pensacola, in 12 ft (3.7 m) deep water. Of the 52 passengers on board the Boeing 727 registered N4744, three lost their lives. The pilots had attempted to land the aircraft at Pensacola Bay Airport..
- On 13 September 1945, a National Airlines Lockheed Lodestar (registered NC33349) overshot the runway at Peter O. Knight Airport near Tampa in rainy weather and came to a rest in the water of the Tampa Bay. There were eleven passengers and three crew members on board the scheduled flight from Miami.
- On 11 October 1945, another Lodestar (NC15555) was involved in a hull-loss accident. The pilots of Flight 23 from Jacksonville to Miami with 14 passengers on board experienced an engine fire and attempted an emergency landing at Melbourne Airport. The approach was missed, though, and the pilots did not manage to pull the aircraft up again, so that it hit the ground.
- On 2 October 1950, a cargo-configured Curtiss C-46 Commando (registered N1661M) was substantially damaged in a belly-up landing at Washington National Airport.
- On 10 January 1955 at 09:38, Flight 1 with ten passengers and three crew veered off the runway during a take-off attempt at Sr. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport. The copilot had lost control of the Lockheed Lodestar (registered N33369) that had been bound for Sarasota.
- On 15 November 1961 at 17:10, National Airlines Flight 429 (a DC-6 registered N8228H) collided with Northeast Airlines Flight 120 (a Vickers Viscount) on the ground at Logan International Airport. The pilots of the National aircraft with 25 passengers on board had commenced with the take-off run without having been cleared to do so, colliding with the landing Northeast plane.
Between 1961 and 1980, 22 (attempted) hijackings on board National Airlines occurred with involved the aircraft being demanded to be flown to Cuba. Alone ion 1969, there were nine such occurrences. The reasons of these event can be attributed to the tensed 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:
- On 8 March 1971, a hijacker on board Flight 745, a Boeing 727 with 46 occupants enroute from Mobile to New Orleans, demanded the aircraft be flown to Canada instead.
- On 12 July 1972, Michael Stanley Green and Ethiopian national Lulseged Tesfa hijacked National Airlines Flight 496 (a Boeing 727) while en route to New York from Philadelphia.
- On 30 March 1974, following a hostage taking in Sarasota, the perpetrator tried to hijack a parked National Airlines 727 at Sarasota-Brandenton Airport, but could prevented from doing so by a flight engineer. A similar hijacking attempt happened on 3 January 1975 at Pensacola Airport.
- ^ "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"
- ^ a b 1937 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ a b 1962 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ Handbook of Airline Statistics (biannual CAB publication)
- ^ 126-day strike
- ^ Shut down by strike Sept-Oct-Nov-Dec
- ^ a b "The Opening of the Commercial Jet Era". U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Commercial_Aviation/Opening_of_Jet_era/Tran6.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
- ^ a b c Christian, J. Scott, former Continental employee and manager, Bring Songs to the Sky: Recollections of Continental Airlines, 1970-1986, Quadran Press, 1998.
- ^ 1938 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ 1941 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ 1945 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ a b 1947 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ 1952 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ 1954 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ a b 1958 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ 1964 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ 1965 National Airlines route map at timetableimages.com
- ^ 1967 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ 1969 National Airlines timetable, at timetableimages.com
- ^ Collection of National Airlines timetables, at timetableimages.com
- ^ a b "World Airline Directory". Flight International. July 26, 1980. http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1980/1980%20-%201950.html. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- ^ Information about National Airlines at the Aero Transport Data Bank
- ^ a b c d e f National Airlines fleet list at planespotters.net
- ^ a b Accident report of National Airlines Flight 16 at the Aviation Safety Network>
- ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 83 at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 101 at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 470 at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 967 at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 2511 at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 27 at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 193 at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ September 1945 National Airlines accident at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 23 at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ 1950 landing accident at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 1 at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ Accident report of National Airlines Flight 429 at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ List of accidents and incidents involving National Airlines, at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ Report of the hijacking of National Airlines Flight 745 at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ 40 years later: The day a 727 landed at Lake Jackson, at chron.com
- ^ Report of the 1974 National Airlines hijacking at the Aviation Safety Network
- ^ Report of the 1975 National Airlines hijacking at the Aviation Safety Network
- Banning, Eugene; edited by R.E.G. Davies (2001). Airlines of Pan American since 1927. Paladwr Press. ISBN 1-888962-17-8
- Conrad, Barnaby (1999). Pan Am: An Aviation Legend. Emeryville, California: Woodford Press. ISBN 0-942627-55-5.
- Davies, R.E.G. (1972, revised August 1982). Airlines of the United States Since 1914, Putnam. ISBN 0-370-30942-1.
- Davies, R.E.G., illustrated by Mike Machat (1987). Pan Am: An Airline And Its Aircraft. Orion. ISBN 0-517-56639-7
- Gandt, Robert L. (1995). Skygods: The Fall of Pan Am. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0-688-04615-0.
- The Clipper Heritage - Pan American World Airways 1927-1991 (2005). Pan American Historical Foundation. Retrieved April 2008.
- Pan American World Airways, Inc., Records (6-26-1996). Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami Archives. Retrieved April 2008.