I don't have resources here at work, but at least in the June 26, 1981 timetable BIL
was operated with a D10.
Remember, of course, this was back in the days when....
was nearly as big a hub for Northwest as MSP
(2) Interline connections were big, so plenty fo people flew routes like BIL
by flying BIL
on Northwest and ORD
(3) The D10 flight ran something like SEA
. There were fewer flights and more milk runs (as opposed to nonstops) those days. So the ORD
D10 carried quite a few people going to Great Falls and Spokane, too. I think there was only a single daily ORD
(4) Load factors were commonly in the 40s, 50s and 60s on all airlines and all routes. Today a D10 with 170 people on is considered empty. Back then a D10 with 125 people onboard was run of the mill.
(5) In general there were fewer flights to fewer hubs in those days. From BIL there were probably only a few times per day when there were flights heading east on any airline, and everybody heading east had to get on one of those.
(6) NW did, at least for part of its life, feed some connections through Billings from other NW Montana cities. So there were routings like:
All those flights would be in BIL at once. This way they could (with several stops) serve markets like PDX-BIS and HLN-ORD. Those BIL-ORD nonstops probably carried plenty of non-Billings traffic.
I don't have actual loads for BIL
, and stats from back then are not online. But nothing forced NW
to fly a D10 in that market, so it was probably justified with loads at least in summer.
[Edited 2006-06-26 22:42:10]