Nowadays Venezuela is in a sorry state, wracked by economic collapse, hyper-inflation and a dictatorial regime. The pathway to this has been long and complex and has gradually taken a toll of the airline’s once rich aviation scene, so that only a handful of airlines survive and connections with international destinations are sporadic. One of the highest profile failures was that of AVENSA who had started operations in 1943.
By the 1970s it had been years since the US majors had bought any foreign aircraft and the new Airbus consortium was struggling to sell its A300 to anybody, let alone the Americans. Eastern, cash-strapped and inefficient, needed a new aircraft and it was Frank Borman's airline that would give Airbus the opportunity that perhaps more than any allowed it to be taken seriously on the world stage.
Air Florida was, thanks to its President Ed Acker, one of the darlings of the first years of deregulation and exploded out of Florida with low fares and cheeky service in late 1978. Acker’s expansionist dreams would never be satisfied with just the USA and as well as trying to buy a selection of much larger airlines Air Florida also positioned itself for the long-haul. This is the story of their push across the Atlantic.
Hainan Airlines is nowadays a well known and respected airline. Its beginnings were much less grand but by 2000 it had innovated its way to success achieving a number of firsts for Chinese airlines. For Westerners however it was probably the advent of China’s first special schemes that raised its profile the most.
During its first 20 years of operation Ozark had fulfilled exactly the promise that the local service airlines had been created for. It had started and proved a wide range of feeder services and grown demand to the point that it could sustain not just prop-jets but pure jets as well. Even better it had done so profitably and begun to wean itself off of subsidy and pick-up longer routes that the trunk airlines no longer wanted. All in all it found itself in good position to grow into the 1970s and face the challenges of deregulation to come.
Ozark was St Louis's hometown airline and as with many of the local service airlines was a true pioneer of service for the regional customer. A well run and well equipped airline that proudly wore its three swallows for forty years. Its story started in 1943 when four local businessmen (two bus line operators and two attorneys) from the Ozark region of mid-west America came together to try and acquire one of the new licenses being offered by the CAB for feeder airline services.
Despite almost constant political turmoil and rampant corruption Cuba was, by the mid-1950s, doing well by many measures. Accordingly, civil aviation was also flourishing and there were no less than four commercial airlines operating in the postwar period funnelling passengers and freight between the US, Mexico and Cuba. Two of these were Aerovias Q and Cuba Aeropostal but neither would long survive the Cuban revolution.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: