PHLBOS
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Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:55 am

With the upcoming Eagles-Patriots Superbowl in the horizon, I was pondering a mock airline-vs-airline theme (yes, I am daydreaming). I know that Northeast Airlines was a Boston-based carrier; the same could be said for Air New England, Pilgrim Airways and Cape Air as well. While Allegheny/USAir/US Airways is a major player at PHL; that airline originated in the western part of Pennsylvania.

My question is was there any air carrier that started in Philadelphia?

My initial answer would be no... Am I correct?
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
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jetjack74
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:03 am

USA 3000 is based in Newtown Square, PA. An airline called Patriot Air was based here, but they folded soon after they started. Also I recall an airline called Air Train that was headquartered in PHL, but they never started service.
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PHLBOS
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:08 am

Jetjack74,

I didn't know about U5 being based out of Newton Square. When did Patriot Air operate (ironic name)?

Had Air Train actually started, things would've been really confusing if they served PHL or any airport at the same time as AirTran and American Trans Air (ATA).

Thanks for the info.
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
kkfla737
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:15 am

Was Northeast actually still based in Boston at the time of the 1972 merger with Delta? I thought they have moved there hdqs from Boston by then.
 
AirT85
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:16 am

Back in the late 70's or 80's there was an airline named Altair that flew Fokker 28s and DC-9-30s out of Philadelphia. I do believe they originally started out of ACY but all operations and their HQ's were moved to PHL shortly after operations commenced. Thats the closest I can remember. I think they eventually shutdown and sold some of their operations to Eastern. Either that or they shutdown due to competition from Eastern. I can't remember exactly!

-Tony
Why would God make us all so different, if He wanted us to be the same?
 
PHLBOS
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:20 am

Kkfla737,

An article covering the history of NE in a back issue of Airliners magazine back in 2000 made no mention of any such move.
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
usflyer msp
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:27 am

I believe Ransome Airlines, which was a US Express carrier in the 1980's and eventually became Pan Am Express, was based in North Philadelphia.

USFlyer MSP
 
sprxUSA
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:40 am

I know this isn't what you were after, but Wings Airways was based at Wings Field outside Philly in Blue Bell and flew Islanders and Tri-islanders to PHL and also Wash DC later.

Also, didn't AirTrain change their name to JetTrain or v.v. prior to startup (or lack thereof.)?
Gem State Airlines..."we have a gem of an airline"
 
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jetjack74
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:02 am

PHLBOS,
I went for an interview to be an Inflight Services mgr. Glad I didn't take the job. Patriot Air flew for about 2 months out of PHL back in 1995 I think. The had 722/732 aircraft. They flew to PIT and BOS, and then the folded. Air Train never got off the ground. They had one DC9-30. They had it painted in Opaloka, FL, but financing fell through and were denied an operating ticket.
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PHLBOS
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 4:19 am

Patriot Air flew for about 2 months out of PHL back in 1995 I think. The had 722/732 aircraft. They flew to PIT and BOS, and then the folded.

Jetjack74,

Wasn't the airline you're referring to actually called Nations Air? I ask that because in 1995, I remember seeing ads for Nations Air promoting their PHL-BOS and PHL-PIT services for $59 one-way. When doing some spotting at Enterprise Ave. (pre-Runway 8-26), I even saw one of their 732s.


View Large View Medium

Photo © Gerhard Plomitzer



According to the above-photo, Nations Air did soldier on elsewhere later on. The 732 I saw did indeed looked like the one pictured.


[Edited 2005-02-02 20:20:20]
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
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jetjack74
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:04 am

Yes, that was it. I got them confused.
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dc8jet
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:53 am

Patriot Air was a cargo airline.
 
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September11
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:20 pm

Midway Airlines part II?
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ERJ170
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:22 pm

Midway Airlines part II?

Based out of Raleigh, NC
Aiming High and going far..
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:51 pm

"I know this isn't what you were after, but Wings Airways was based at Wings Field outside Philly in Blue Bell and flew Islanders and Tri-islanders to PHL and also Wash DC later."

I think the Wings-PHL service must go down in history as one of the shortest scheduled routes ever in the US (notice I didn't say THE shortest, before people jump on me for that), about 16 miles or so as the crow files...basically take off from Wings, hang a turn to the south and your on a long 14 or 15 mile final for PHL Runway 17....of course the Blue Route's completion and opening completely killed the service in the early 90's...I never got a chance to fly on it but my dad was a regular on it, as Wings is our home field back east...

Greg
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crownvic
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:20 pm

AirT85 Actually your a little confused. Altair was a long established PHL carrier from the 1960's that flew Beech Twins and Nord 262's. With the advent of deregulation, they turned into a big east coast player with F-28's and in the end, DC-9's. Just as they were taking on the DC-9's and like Peoplexpress, overexpansion got he best of them and bankruptcy shut them down. The airline you were thinking of was the original American International (AIA) which also went bankrupt. They flew Dash 7's, DC-9's, MD-80's and a sole 727-100. Another deregulation "knock-out" was Skystar with a bunch of PHL based 707's and Jet America (a charter division of the LGB based MD80 operator) with 707's too that all operated in the 1980's. During the Vietnam War era, Capitol, TIA, Saturn, ONA and Universal all had major DC-8 operating bases at PHL as this airport served as the U.S. east coast gateway for military activity. Although not an airline, Wainright's Fling Vacations brought many charter airline crew bases to PHL in the 1980's. It was common to see Arrow's 707 fleet and Rich Int'l DC-8's there daily. This business later went onto Apple Tours which I believe later became USA3000. Finally, on the cargo side, PHL's hometown Summit Airlines operated an earlier fleet of Skyvans which later became CV-580's and L-188's, but they too went bust. GO EAGLES!
 
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flashmeister
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Sat Feb 05, 2005 7:38 pm

I used to drive past Wings every day on my way to work in Blue Bell, but I never knew that it actually had scheduled service at one time, much less the short hope to PHL. Fascinating.

If it was today, security + flight + taxi + bags at PHL would take longer than the Route 100 and the R1 to PHL from Norristown.  Smile
 
wjcandee
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Sun Feb 06, 2005 11:43 am

Does nobody remember American International Airways?

Originally based in Atlantic City, where it was starting to do pretty well, it make the mistake of transitioning its hub to Philly in the mid-80s, whereupon it was promptly crushed. That experience made me dubious about Midway Airlines (Part I) 's decision to expand to a hub there, which, of course, caused them to go bankrupt.

All the best,

Bill
 
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Sun Feb 06, 2005 11:48 am

Had Air Train actually started, things would've been really confusing if they served PHL or any airport at the same time as AirTran and American Trans Air (ATA).

Not to mention the actual train services called AirTrain that serve EWR and JFK would probably have received different names.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
 
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Sun Feb 06, 2005 12:24 pm

Here's 4 photos I found of Wings Airways on a.net...while I know Wings Field (which is also the founding site of AOPA on a historical note), changed identifiers a few years back from N67 to KLOM, I was not aware that it was ever "BBX" like 3 of these photos indicate...


View Large View Medium

Photo © Bob Garrard
View Large View Medium

Photo © Eduard Marmet



View Large View Medium

Photo © Eduard Marmet
View Large View Medium

Photo © Eduard Marmet



The building behind the Tri-Islander in the upper right hand photo was the Wings Terminal building, its recently been refurbished as a pilot's lounge and waiting area since Wings does receive some corporate traffic...the building behind the Islander in the upper left photo is where the flight school and pilot shop at Wings currently stand...

Greg

[Edited 2005-02-06 04:26:42]
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September11
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:00 pm

My grandparents lived in Blue Bell, PA for long time. Wings at BBX! wow .. that airport was so quiet... small, nice, simple, and stable. I remember when driving past BBX I would see Wings plane land or take off.
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BigOrange
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:46 am

Midway Airlines I had a hub in PHL, not sure they were actually based though
 
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 3:12 am

"My grandparents lived in Blue Bell, PA for long time. Wings at BBX! wow .. that airport was so quiet... small, nice, simple, and stable. "

And the neighbors of Wings (which is surrounded by many developments with expensive housing built well after the airport was) were notorious NIMBY's...it was quite amusing to read their letters in the local paper every week protesting just about everything regarding the airport, and not having a clue about what they were talking about...

Greg
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PHLBOS
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RE: Were There Any Philadelphia-based Airlines?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 4:24 am

Midway Airlines I had a hub in PHL, not sure they were actually based though

BigOrange,

Not to bust your stones here, but the original Midway Airlines was started and based in Chicago's Midway Airport; hence, where the name came from.
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981

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