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kcrwflyer
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What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:29 pm

I remember going to Detroit City airport at a very young age and seeing all of the colorful tails parked at the terminal, but I never knew anything about the airline. I still dont...

What type of service did they offer? Where did they fly? Where they a lcc?
Why did they go?

Would they have done better out of DTW?

[Edited 2005-12-14 07:30:06]
 
deltaflyertoo
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:37 pm

Yes they were a LCC flying 737-400s. They tried to build a hub out of Detroit City airport to such destinations as Vegas and Florida and maybe NY?

IRC (open to correction) I believe they moved to Detroit Metro Wayne after like 2 years and of course NW killed them. I don't think they ever grew beyond 10 737s. They were also headquartered in Seattle. So by default anyone working management side was physically checked out of the operation. They also switched and experimented with different route segments on the drop of a hat, therefore never allowing time for a route to mature and to create a following.
 
MxCtrlr
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:20 pm

To sum their operations up succinctly - they sucked! Maintenance was poor, management was non-existent, planning was poor, etc.

MxCtrlr  bouncy 
DAMN! This SUCKS! I just had to go to the next higher age bracket in my profile! :-(
 
SunValley
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:40 pm

Bedlam for the most part. A company based out of Seattle (for most of their history they didn't even fly to Seattle) operting fllights into & out of Detroit Metro. Reliability was their main issue always. Never knew if they would actually operate the flight or cancel within minutes of departure.
 
TriStar500
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:44 pm

I faintly remember an article about ProAir in a very old (1998-ish) issue of Airliners Magazine. If someone can dig that up and post a short resume, most of the needs for information should be satisfied.

What was the story behind ProAir Mk. II? They were supposed to start up with MD-90's a while ago, but obviously their plans did not materialize. Who was behind this outfit?
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
 
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sammyk
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:51 pm

Horrible airline. Didn't they have some sort of agreement with some automakers to provide them with cheaper flights?
 
A340Spotter
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:01 pm

Kcrwflyer,

As probably the most qualified to answer the questions, here's what you need to know about ProAir (and Deltaflyertoo, you are so off in every answer you mentioned!)...

ProAir was founded originally in 1995 and was to operate 737-200s, with plans actually centered around becoming sort of the Airline of the NBA. Two 737-200s were found in MIA (that were heaps to say the least), however ValuJet's accident changed the whole game plan.
With the charter idea out, scheduled service was planned, with Detroit City Airport, centrally located though not in the best part of town, becoming the planned hub. 2 737-44Ps, originally destined for Hainan Airlines, were to become ProAir's first two airplanes (changed pre-delivery to -49Rs). Eventually, we took delivery of the two, becoming only the second US airline (Southwest being the other) to take delivery of brand new 737s to begin life as an airline.
Service was started in a shotgun manner, launching service on July 4, 1997. It was started this way to quietly get around residents from Gross Pointe who opposed the newfound noise our 737-400s were to bring to their area (needless to say, the Royal Air Freight Lear 24s must have been just delightful!) Flights from DET-BWI, DET-IND, then DET-EWR, DET-MKE were our core cities. These cities proved to be very good for us, with our first full flight occuring by summer's end. A third airplane, ex China Airlines, was added,We followed up with PHL, LGA, ATL and finally MCO.
During the first winter, 1997, we added weekly Sat/Sun charters from DET-MCO and RSW, and by early 1998, began international charters from JFK/PHL or EWR/PHL-PLS Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.
As Sammyk mentions, we did have agreements in place with GM, Chrysler, Delphi, Masco Tech and a couple of other smaller companies to provide transportation at lower prices in return for investment. Chrysler, for instance, would have us fly to PHL in order for their costs to be kept down. It saved them quite a lot of money over the year by having us on that route versus what Northwest was charging prior. We became a thorn in NW's side, predictably, and they did manage to up their airplanes on routes to MKE which ultimately led to us pulling out of there. Hard to compete when NW throws a couple of extra flights with 757s! NW was proven to be a "bully" but not much was made of it (Vanguard and someone else, Reno Air maybe? had taken them to court already).
Anyway, the corporate agreements were quite a hit and the media really liked us...at least for the first year. It was a novel concept that today would work with the right gameplan.
So that covers the routes a bit.
Plane wise, we never operated more than 4 airplanes at any time. We had 5 on property in late 1999 but we were never given authority by the DOT/FAA to operate them. With the above mentioned 737-400s (N460PR/Orange tail, N461PR/Green tail, N462PR/Purple tail), we operated 2 737-300s (N360PR/yellow tail--also delivered new after Garuda didn't take it up, and N362PR/white tail, never painted--was to be Fuchsia). N361PR was fully painted as another yellow tail, but after languishing at SEA for about a month awaiting a decision from the FAA whether or not the floorboards were up to spec (or something to that effect), the plane was returned to the lessor..and put into service with Frontier within a week's time! I can't and won't comment any further, but if you read the excerpts from the re-certification process, you can find some answers.
Anyway, to sum a few other things up, flight operations/crew wise, everyone worked their tails off to make the airline work. It's probably a good thing to see that most everyone has ended up benefitting from the time spent at ProAir, with a lot of our pilots now flying for JetBlue, Alaska and Southwest.
Our CEO, Craig Belmondo, contrary to Deltaflyertoo, at least was in Detroit for most of the week, though he did commute on the weekends back to BWI. Should the HQ have been in Detroit? Not necessarily. SEA was one of the planned launch cities, but with only 4 planes, it was too risky to fly one out until we had enough to do so. Craig did fight to get as many as we could, telling the FAA repeatedly we couldn't make it as an airline if we didn't have at least 7 planes. But of course money prevented us from ever getting that number. Being tied in with the Detroit City Council and the Fund that dangled millions of dollars in investment in front of us for well over 2 years, never would materialize...until it was too late. The airline shut down in September, 2000, with the FAA citing 59 (IIRC) allegations of mtnce. violations, all but one later rescinded during the court proceedings (again, can't comment, won't comment, but read news stories about the re-certification).
Plans to relaunch, with the three famously painted (still!) MD-90s, were underway, as the 737s were long since returned. The bankruptcy court hearing to showcase the new airline happened as planned, unfortunately for ProAir, it came 2 days after 9/11, and the bankruptcy judge had no compassion for aviation that day, saying that "no airline your size stands a chance in this environment", even though cost wise, we were amongst the lowest in the industry. And such, the airline filed Chapter 7 and the MD-90s continue to sit in Marana, perilously close to scrapping.
Personally, I wouldn't trade a day I spent with the airline for anything. It was by far the best family I've ever had.

Hope that helps give you some insight, I'll tell more any time

JSD
"Irregardless, it's a Cat III airplane, we don't need an alternate!"
 
A340Spotter
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:05 pm

Oh, to answer that last question Kcrw, no we wouldn't have done better out of DTW. The best thing we had going for us was not having to deal with the traffic issues that DTW had. Remember, this was before the new terminal was built at DTW, and we operated at the same time when NW had their great snowstorm meltdown. We came out smelling like roses, even though we were parked on the field at DTW as well that day as we couldn't get into DET (Visibility, snow, 100ft. wide x 5000ft. long rwy., etc.!)...

JSD
"Irregardless, it's a Cat III airplane, we don't need an alternate!"
 
jetsetsteve
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:55 pm

I remember they used to due winter charters on the weekend out of BOS. They tried to make some money off those flights buy selling tickets for the flight back to DET on sunday nights. I worked those flights on most weekends and the most Pax i think we ever put on them where like 13. I was working the ramp at the time so we loved it. no bags......Some of the nicest Flight crews around. I enjoyed working for them.
 
A340Spotter
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:23 pm

Jetsetsteve,

Good catch on BOS. For some reason I forgot that and come to think of it, forgot MDW as well!

JSD
"Irregardless, it's a Cat III airplane, we don't need an alternate!"
 
kcrwflyer
Topic Author
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:59 pm

How were you getting any range on a 734 off a 5,000 foot runway? Static takeoffs?
 
atcrick
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:26 pm

A340spotter,

very well said sir. I knew Craig Belmondo from a previous job. I always liked and respected the man. It was too bad seeing Pro Air fail.
natch!!
 
loisencroach
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:40 pm

Did any of the management used to work for Con Air?
 drunk 

Sorry...I was just leaving
 
A340Spotter
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:45 pm

Kcrwflyer,

We had use of the full 23.5K thrust on our CFM56-3C (off memory) engines and we used flaps 15 for takeoff exclusively out of DET.
Going to MDW, IND, MKE, etc., these were short hops and to be honest, EWR, PHL, LGA and BWI weren't much longer. On our ATL/MCO runs that were full, depending on temps, altimeter settings etc, we ran non-stop and almost never bumped a passenger (if ever). The MCO/RSW charters that we ran the first winter were a little more iffy and there were a couple of times that a stop in IND (later ATL) were required, but I'd run a full flight down there a time or ten nonstop.

ATCRick,
Thanks...and as a side note, hope your airline continues to prosper. I like what they're doing.

Jeffrey
"Irregardless, it's a Cat III airplane, we don't need an alternate!"
 
Magyarorszag
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:50 pm

Quoting Deltaflyertoo (Reply 1):
Yes they were a LCC flying 737-400s.

They flew between June 1997 and March 2001. They operated through the years three B737-300s and three B737-400s.
 
MEA-707
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:58 pm

Was Detroit City Airport the same as Detroit Willow Run with the propliners? I always get confused with the Detroit airports, especially because the code of the big airport, DTW (Ypsilanti?) contains a "W" which you would think is for Willow Run.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
WDBRR
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:24 pm

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 15):
Was Detroit City Airport the same as Detroit Willow Run with the propliners? I always get confused with the Detroit airports, especially because the code of the big airport, DTW (Ypsilanti?) contains a "W" which you would think is for Willow Run.

When I worked for an airline in the 1980's, people would call and
say they wanted to fly out of either Detroit "Metro" or Detroit
"Wayne" airport...were there two airports at the time?
I rememeber airport codes DTW and DTT? any insight?
 
luv2fly
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:55 pm

Quoting Deltaflyertoo (Reply 1):
IRC (open to correction) I believe they moved to Detroit Metro Wayne after like 2 years and of course NW killed them.

They never moved or offered flights from DTW other than a possible charter out of DTW if that.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
FRA2DTW
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:10 am

DTW is Detroit Metro, the area's major airport (the W is for Wayne County). DTT is Detroit City which was home to Pro Air and also Southwest flew from there for a while. Willow Run is YIP for ypsilanti - it is the home of Kalitta Air .
 
uswyjer
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:12 am

I remember an article on their website saying they were looking to buy Saab 2000s for regional service, anyone else know the story behind that?
 
VC10BOAC
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:32 am

Quoting FRA2DTW (Reply 18):
DTT is Detroit City which was home to Pro Air and also Southwest flew from there for a while

Detroit City is DET. Never heard of DTT.
 
VC10BOAC
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:35 am

OK just looked it up. DTT is code for all Detroit area airports (like NYC and LON)
 
KarlB737
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:06 am

I flew on Pro-Air once from DET to MDW. For some reason we stopped at IND on the way. But that was OK.. When it was time to leave IND the ground power would not work at what I think was an America-West gate. After a time they got 1 engine started and used that to assist in starting the other because of the problem with the power cart. That was OK....

DET has its own problems but I was just glad to see an airline trying to succeed at DET.
 
vegasplanes
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:03 am

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 15):
Was Detroit City Airport the same as Detroit Willow Run with the propliners? I always get confused with the Detroit airports, especially because the code of the big airport, DTW (Ypsilanti?) contains a "W" which you would think is for Willow Run.

DET Detroit City Airport, east side of Detroit, metro area, where Pro Air and WN flew from

DTW Detroit Metro-Wayne County South/Southwest of city, major airport for the region

YIP Detroit Willow Run Airport located in Ypsilanti, MI, due west of DTW on I-94, I would say about 15-20 miles. Home of Kalitta Air, I believe all traffic is freight/GA, no scheduled passenger service since the 1950's or so, anybody recall when YIP was the main airport for the Detroit metro area. That was way before my time.
 
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tjwgrr
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:35 am

I recall ProAir doing DET-IND-SEA with the return SEA-DET being non-stop for a brief period of time.

Anyone else confirm this?
Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
 
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Midway737
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:55 am

Detroit City had a new name plus International Airport I believe it James Coleman International Airport

When I heard that, I almost laugh. Im thinking who in the world would want to name one runway airport to an international Airport??? Let alone Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport

Any story to that?
 
dtw9
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:27 am

DTW's original name was Wayne county airport. In 1947 it was renamed Detroit-Wayne major airport. First airlines to move over from Yip was in 1958,with the balance moving over in 1966 with the completion of the Davey terminal. The Airport was renamed again in 1958 as Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
 
legendDC9
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:58 am

I just remember being interviewed by them for dispatcher in Seattle mid 2000. Seemed like a business as usual environment and I was offered the job but a friend warned me that they were about to go away. A month later, they were done.
 
A340Spotter
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Thu Dec 15, 2005 7:12 pm

Quoting Magyarorszag (Reply 14):
They flew between June 1997 and March 2001. They operated through the years three B737-300s and three B737-400s

Did you even read past his reply?! Think I spelled it out for everyone pretty much. July 4, 1997-September 18, 2000 and we only operated 2 of the 3 737-300s that saw ProAir colors.

Quoting Uswyjer (Reply 19):
I remember an article on their website saying they were looking to buy Saab 2000s for regional service, anyone else know the story behind that?

Yes indeed, the Saabs. Bit of a gamble that was a nice idea, but never flew. General Motors came to us about operating the planes for them on their Delphi shuttles between Detroit-Anderson, IN, Detroit-Kokomo, IN and Detroit-Indy.
Think the deal was that they would sell the planes to us for $1 dollar each so that they would be on our certificate and GM would be able to get money from Delphi as they were apparently getting their hands slapped by the FAA for accepting funds to fly them on planes that weren't technically for sale.
The catch to all of this was to get the Saab 2000 certified to operate in airline passenger service in the US. We were told that to certify it, we'd be looking at shelling out a Million dollars (give or take) to go through the certification process and that money just wasn't available to us at the time.
Funny enough, we even had the paint scheme selected thanks to everyone's "fake" airline paint schemer, Mikephotos!

Quoting KarlB737 (Reply 22):
I flew on Pro-Air once from DET to MDW. For some reason we stopped at IND on the way.

Likely one of those days where I became the legendary Two Down DeVore...I would bet that we had one plane (or more) out of service that day and we had to run a triangle flight (DET-IND-MDW or DET-BWI-PHL etc.)...

Quoting Tjwgrr (Reply 24):
I recall ProAir doing DET-IND-SEA with the return SEA-DET being non-stop for a brief period of time.
Anyone else confirm this?

Ran this in 1999, early 2000 if memory serves me. Actually the route we flew in service was DET-MDW-SEA and SEA-DET back. We did fly DET-IND-SEA flights during our proving runs. Ah fun stuff!

Quoting LegendDC9 (Reply 27):
I just remember being interviewed by them for dispatcher in Seattle mid 2000.

Would have been replacing me! I left on July 3, 2000, saddest day of my aviation career. I tried to stick it out to the end, but couldn't pass up the offer I had. No regrets, though my heart always is with P9.

JSD
"Irregardless, it's a Cat III airplane, we don't need an alternate!"
 
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Midway737
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:20 am

Quoting A340Spotter (Reply 28):
Would have been replacing me! I left on July 3, 2000, saddest day of my aviation career. I tried to stick it out to the end, but couldn't pass up the offer I had. No regrets, though my heart always is with P9.

Should work for Alaska Airlines
 
A340Spotter
Posts: 1743
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RE: What Kind Of Airline Was Pro Air

Sat Dec 17, 2005 6:31 pm

Tried to, but seems my resume stopped some place before it needed to...

I have a few friends working there still though.

JSD
"Irregardless, it's a Cat III airplane, we don't need an alternate!"

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