Northeast Airlines

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Northeast Airlines
Douglas DC-9-31 N981NE NE MIA 07.02.71 edited-2.jpg
Douglas DC-9-31 of Northeast Airlines landing at Miami Airport in 1971
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Northeast Airlines
Douglas DC-9-31 N981NE NE MIA 07.02.71 edited-2.jpg
Douglas DC-9-31 of Northeast Airlines landing at Miami Airport in 1971
Northeast Airlines logo


Northeast Airlines was an American airline based in Boston, Massachusetts. It began as Boston-Maine Airways, which was founded as a Pan Am contract carrier on July 20, 1931, by the Boston and Maine Railroad and Maine Central Railroad offering service from Boston to Bangor via Portland. It flew only abortively until August 11, 1933, when it began contract service for National Airways, an agreement which lasted four years. The name Northeast Airlines was adopted on November 19, 1940.

During World War II, Northeast pioneered regular transatlantic service for the military under contract from the U.S. Army Air Force. After the war they applied for authorization to operate passenger service across the Atlantic but were stymied by the Civil Aeronautics Board, which awarded the routes to Pan American World Airways and TWA.

Northeast's Convair 240s and DC-3s did not fly south or west of New York La Guardia until 1956 when they added flights to Washington National. In 1957 they added three DC-6B "Sunliner" nonstops from La Guardia to Miami.

A series of crashes damaged the airline's image:

Northeast ordered ten turboprop Vickers Viscounts in the late 1950s and operated them successfully for a few years until financial problems in the early 1960s forced the company to return them to the manufacturer. The jet age came to Northeast in 1959 when they leased a single Boeing 707 from TWA for the Florida route. In 1960 Northeast leased six Convair 880s that were operated between the northeast and Florida for several years.

In 1965 the airline was bought by Storer Broadcasting, who tried to rejuvenate Northeast with a new marketing campaign and new aircraft. Northeast ordered a fleet of Boeing 727s for their Florida routes, and Douglas DC-9 twinjet airliners and Fairchild FH-227 turboprops for shorter routes. These new aircraft were known as "Yellowbirds" due to their two-tone yellow and white livery. In 1966 Northeast was the launch customer for the Boeing 727-200, which they began flying in December 1967. Except for Florida their network was all north and east of Washington National until 1969 when they added three 727 nonstops Miami to Los Angeles, with Fort Lauderdale getting an LAX nonstop soon after. (Fuel stops were sometimes needed.)

Despite a modern fleet and the successful Yellowbird marketing campaign, Northeast remained at a disadvantage against larger competitors such as Eastern Airlines and National Airlines. By the early 1970s Northeast's financial condition was such that they sought a merger or a sale. On August 1, 1972 Northeast merged with Delta Air Lines. Northeast's contribution to Delta included access to the Boston market, which Delta did not serve under the then-regulated airline industry. Delta assimilated the Boeing 727 into their fleet, a type they did not operate prior to absorbing Northeast. Delta used this tri-jet airliner as the workhorse of their fleet during the 1970s and 1980s.

Destinations served[edit]

Northeast Airlines served the following destinations:[6]



An asterisk (*) denotes this airport is no longer served by scheduled air service.


Accidents and incidents[edit]