A Trip Down Airline Memory Lane, Part One

midway b737

How many of these airlines do you remember, or have flown on? The airlines in this set of photos have not only ceased to operate as brands, but many of their aircraft pictured here are retired, or even don’t exist anymore.

“Express ” and subsidiary airlines are somewhat difficult to track down… Pan Am Express was operated by Ransome Airlines, the Northwest Airlink Dornier DO-228 was operated by Precision Airlines, and the Eastern Express ATR-42 began with Bar Harbor Airlines… and after Eastern Airlines went out of business, the aircraft served Continental Express too.

Other airline sub-brands, like Delta’s Song, U.S. Airway’s Metrojet and United’s Ted are all part of the rich history of American airlines that have ceased operations.  

Mergers have culled the active airline operator fleet today too… Continental merged with United, America West merged with U.S. Airways, and Airtran was acquired by Southwest Airlines.  

My beautiful picture

Still others couldn’t manage to stay afloat, and shut down operations without mergers, like Shuttle America, Eastwind and Nations Air. 

Not just the airline companies had issues with continuing flight operations, but many older aircraft couldn’t be sustained for long. Economic viability grounded many smaller aircraft with 19 or fewer seats, like the CASAs, Dorniers, and Martin 404s pictured here.  Lack of spare parts, fuel consumption and the cost of mandated inspections took their toll of airframes. Noise of the original jets also led to their obsolescence, like the Boeing 727 and early 737s. 

My beautiful picture

Enjoy the memories of these airlines, as they no longer take to the skies. And, look for a second part of this story with more photos of airlines and airliners who have disappeared over the past few decades – in about a month.

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Ken Kula

Assignment and Content Editor, writer and photographer A New Englander all of my life, I've lived in New Hampshire since 1981. My passion for all things aviation began at a very early age, and I coupled this with my interest of photography during college in the late 1970s. I spent 32 years in the air traffic control industry, and concurrently, enjoyed my aviation photography and writing adventures, which continue today. I've been quite fortunate to have been mentored by some generous and gifted individuals. I enjoy contributing to this great site, and working with some very knowledgeable and equally passionate aviation followers.

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