National Airlines (N7/ROK, Call sign: Red Rock) was the third airline that used the name, though it bore absolutely no connection to the original holder - the regulated era Trunk airline which operated from Florida primarily up the East Coast and later to Europe which was merged into Pan Am in late 1980. The second National Airlines was a short-lived charter airline that, not content with using the Overseas National name 'borrowed' from the then defunct long serving supplemental ONA, purchased the naming rights from Pan Am for the original National and planned to start up schedule service. It survived using the National name from 1983 to the end of 1985. The third National was a completely different beast and and set up its stall out West in Las Vegas. It only lasted three years itself but burnt brightly all the same.
The third National Airlines was started by Harrah’s Entertainment and other Las Vegas gambling concerns to stimulate traffic to the city. It was the brainchild of Michael J Conway who was one of the founders of America West and was fired as their CEO in 1994. Starting with 4 757s the fleet quickly expanded to 19 of them but the airline entered bankruptcy protection as early as December 2000 having only started flying in May 1999. Operations continued, however the turmoil following 9/11 proved too much and the airline shutdown just over a year later in November 2002. It operated a mix of East and West Coast routes with the 757s but faced with poor economic conditions and competition from Southwest and AWA it just couldn't make enough money to survive.
Eight of National's Boeing 757s were series 236s originally destined for but not taken up by British Airways. N506NA originally joined Air Europe on lease from Sunrock in March 1990 as G-BRJG. She then joined Air Holland in May 91 as PH-AHN, then Air Aruba in Nov 91 as P4-AAA, IEA in April 92 as G-IEAD, Icelandair in Dec 93 as TF-FIK, Ambassador in May 94 as G-SRJG and Istanbul Airlines in April 95 as TC-AJA. She entered service with National in February 1999. Following service with National she was leased to Avianca for 6 years from November 2003 and broken up in October 2009 with a total time of 50,346 hours and 20,036 cycles.
Since 2008 there has been a fourth National Airlines - this one a rebranded Orlando based cargo carrier which remains in service.
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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: