Emerald Airlines is one of a myriad of small US startup carriers that attempted to take advantage of the freedom of deregulation of the US airline market during the late 1970s and early 1980s. As with many of these smaller airlines Emerald is now merely a footnote in aviation history, and a fairly obscure one, but compared to many of the deregulation startups Emerald actually achieved some longevity if not much success.
The 'Houston Proud' slogan was part of a campaign developed by the Greater Houston Partnership Commitee to help the city during its 'oil bust' years of the early 1980s. The service was required because during this period Continental was flying a dual hub operation with up to 37 daily departures from Houston Hobby Airport. The Emerald DC-9 would operate 7 round trips a day to connect the two airports which are only 29.9 miles apart! Even though cross town from each other Google tells me the driving time is only 36 minutes. Continental closed its operations at Hobby and I assume that ended the need for the connecting flights.
By 1989 Emerald itself was looking for opportunities and bought the assets of bankrupt Royale Airlines. This was not a success and the scheduled services within Louisiana and to Vegas, Orlando and Atlantic City ended by November. Its financial position was obviously poor as early in 1990 it filed for Chapter 7, though Atlantic City charters continued. The bones of Emerald were bought by the ill-fated third attempt at restarting the carcass of Braniff, which needed an AOC. The pair of criminals involved changed the name to Braniff but probably for the best their attempts to run Braniff III proved short-lived.
N38641 herself began its life as YV-C-AVR with Viasa in May 1967 before becoming YV-57C with AVENSA in 1975. After retirement by Braniff in October 1991 she was stored. In July 1993 she joined Estrelles del Aire as XA-SKA, but was with Allegro by April 1994. In September 1997 she joined Aerocaribe and was finally withdrawn in July 1999. The aircraft is now used as a public library in Ecatepec.
Though at no stage was Emerald Airlines anything like a success it did provide service on an obscure but interesting route which must rate as one of the shortest scheduled jet services ever run!
Norwood, T. Deregulation Knockouts Round One. Airways Press. 1996
Aeromoe's US Fleets
William P. Hobby Airport. Wikipedia
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: