Formed in Clarksburg WV in 1967, Aeromech provided service from several West Virginia cities to Washington and Pittsburgh. Original Cessnas were replaced with Beech 99s and later, Embraer 110s as shown above. It became an Allegheny Commuter in 1978, but returned to independence in 1981. In 1983 it was acquired by Wright Airlines.
Card is an Aviation World Issue.
Air North SD-330
Air North originated as Northern Airways in Burlington Vermont, operating Beech 18s and later, Twin Otters. It became Air North in 1970. During its early years it operated the short lived Mohawk Commuter, then became an Allegheny Commuter.
The year 1980 saw the arrival of the Shorts 330 shown on the above Air North issue, and the re-emergence of Air North as an independent.
Air North Gulfstream 1
In 1981, Air North was serving most of New York State plus Washington and Boston. They also acquired this Gulfstream 1, which a few years later flew for Chaparral. In 1982 Air North began acquiring F-27s, before acquisition by Brockway.
Card issued by Executive Aircraft Historians.
Air South F-27 #1
Air South was launched in 1968 to provide service from smaller Georgia cities to Atlanta. Original Queen Airs were replaced by Beech 99s by 1969. In 1973 Air South took delivery of their 1st F-27 from Allegheny, shown above at St. Simons Airport (I believe)
Card is an IAWP issue.
Air South Martin 404 #1KCF
Air South's ambitious growth took a toll and in 1975, Florida Airlines purchased the airline , dropping all routes except Atlanta-St Simons and Hilton Head. First DC-3s, then Martin 404s as shown above were substituted for the F-27s. The airline perished in 1980.
Card is an IAWP issue by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.
Air Sunshine DC-3 #1
Air Sunshine began scheduled services to the Florida Keys in 1974, serving Key West and Marathon from Miami and Tampa. Their DC-3s were familiar sights, as shown on this iconic Air Sunshine issue.
Air Sunshine DC-3 #2
Air Sunshine operated 5 DC-3s. This one, N73KW was the only one lost to a crash. Fortunately all survived.
Card is an Aironautica Issue.
Air Sunshine Convair 440
Heavy demand on the Keys flights led to the acquisition of Convair 440s in late 1977. The success also attracted the attention of Air Florida which bought the airline in December 1978.
Shown on a Coincard Issue is N478KW, an ex Lufthansa aircraft.
Air Wisconsin Metro
Air Wisconsin set the standard for commuter airline success, growing from a single route from Appleton to Chicago in 1965, to national air carrier status. Original Doves were replaced by Beech 99s in 1968, and Metros in 1973. I flew a lot of these.
Card is an Air Wisconsin Issue.
Air Wisconsin DHC-7
In 1978 the airline had made the bold step of ordering DHC-7s, and had been redesignated as a Regional Airline. The first DHC-7 arrived in 1979.
Card is an Air Wisconsin Issue.
Air Wisconsin F-27 #1
The 1985 acquisition of Mississippi Valley brought the F-27 to Air Wisconsin, as well as the Shorts Airliners. Shown is N505AW, originally ordered by Mississippi Valley, but delivered to Air Wisconsin.
Card is an Editions PI Issue.
Air Wisconsin F-27 #2
Air Wisconsin operated 17 F-27s. They subsequently ordered 14 ATPs which were delivered after the United affiliation.
This nice view is a Skyliners Issue.
Air Wisconsin BAE-146-300 #1
Air Wisconsin completely shed the bonds of commuter Airlines by Introducing BAE-146-300s in 1983. They were followed by additional 200s.
Air Wisconsin BAE-146-300 #2
Despite the enormous success of Air Wisconsin, they succumbed to the code sharing revolution, joining United and destroying a remarkable history of achievement.
Altair F-28-4000 #2
Altair was launched with 3 Queen Airs in 1966, and by 1969 was serving 19 cities with a fleet of Beech 99s. In 1976 the airline acquired 7 Nord 262s to accommodate the growing traffic. This was an Altair issue of one of 6 F-28s that were to come. It was also issued as an oversized card.
Altair F-28-4000 #3
This beautiful blue livery was introduced on The 262s in 1980. Altair was one of the first commuters to leave the category when it introduced new F-28-4000s as shown on this Fokker issue. DC-9-30s were added in 1982, but the airline collapsed shortly thereafter.
A true Pioneer of the commuter industry was Apache, started in 1957 with Beech 18s. It provided a real "Commuter" service by offering frequent flights between Phoenix and Tuscon. DeHavilland Doves were introduced, as well as Herons, but the airline entered the jet age with the Carstedt CJ 600 modification of the Dove, shown on this airline issue. Sadly one of the CJ600s broke up in flight, and relentless publicity more than interstate highways caused the demise of Apache in 1971.
Aspen Convair 440
One of the first Commuters, Aspen began service in 1953. Initially Denver to Aspen, but as years passed expanded to Tahoe and the west coast. Service began with DC-3s, but by 1970 Convair 440s as shown on the above Aspen Issue, were operating the services.
Aspen Convair 580 #1
By 1975 the Convair 580s were added, wearing the Classic Aspen livery, shown on this Mary Jayne's Issue.
Aspen Convair 580 #2
The 580s appeared in multiple colors. This is an IAWP issue.
By 1985 Aspen had developed into a large regional airline, extending east to Waterloo, Iowa, and south to Lubbock Texas. The BAE-146 was introduced, bringing the first jet service to Aspen, and other destinations, but in late 1986, Aspen became a United Express operator.
Card is an Aviation World issue.
Bar Harbor Beech 99 #1KCF
Bar Harbor, one of the very successful New England commuters, was launched in 1968 with Cessnas connecting Bar Harbor with Boston. Their first Beech 99 was delivered in 1972. The C-99 models continued to be added through the 1980s. This rare bi-centennial postcard, provided by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu, was obviously issued in 1976.
Bar Harbor Convair 600 #2
Bar harbor's growth demanded the addition of Convair 600s in 1979, at which time routes extended from Preque Isle to Hartford / Springfield. The card is an IAWP issue.
Bar Harbor Beech 1900
Beech 1900s joined the fleet in 1984. In 1985 a code sharing arrangement was made with Eastern, and in 1987 Texas Air acquired control. The death of Eastern in 1991 took Bar Harbor with it, and Britt took over some former Bar Harbor routes.
Britt Beech 99
Britt Airlines came into service specifically to replace Allegheny on some routes in 1968. Initially retaining the name of his FBO in Danville. The first Beech 99 was acquired and put in service from Danville, IL to O'hare. Soon, Britt Airlines became an official Allegheny Commuter, adding Terre Haute, Muncie and Bloomington.
Shown is a Beech 99 in later Britt Airways colors on an IAWP issue.
In 1976, Britt was afforded the opportunity to replace Ozark at Sterling/ Rock Falls, and Galesburg IL. These services were operated independently of the Allegheny Commuter services, and resulted in the creation of the independent Britt Airways. As "Airways" grew, ex Southern Metros were added in 1979, as seen on this IAWP issue.
Britt FH-227 #2
As Air New England was failing, Britt had the opportunity to acquire some of their FH-227s at reasonable cost, and these were deployed on routes once covered by Ozark DC-9s. By 1983 Britt was operating 7. Card is an IAWP issue.
In addition to the FH-227s, F-27Js were added to meet the demand on Britt's more heavily traveled routes to their Chicago Hub. Britt was, incidentally, known for attractive stewardesses, a fact to which I can testify.
The card is another IAWP issue.
In a final step in its climb toward major airline status, in 1984, Britt acquired two BAC-111-400s from Dan-Air to operate their busiest routes.
But, the end of Britt was near. First, a new code sharing arrangement with Piedmont, then an unimaginable sale to People Express, which ultimately led to the submergeance of Britt into Eastern and Continental feeders.
The card is an Aerogem issue.
Cardinal Islander KCF
Cardinal Airlines was formed in Lynchburg, VA in 1968. Initially it operated flights from Lynchburg and Charlottesville to Washington DC with Piper and Cessna aircraft, but took delivery of 4 Islanders in 1969. In 1975 the airline was sold and became Air Virginia, continuing to operate out of Lynchburg.
Card issued by Jonas Aircraft, the North American Distributor for Brittan Norman, by courtesy of KUo-Ching Fu
Cascade Airways was launched in Spokane WA. with Beech 99s in June of 1969. Routes expanded throughout Washington, with the addition of Columbia Pacific Airlines and by 1979 The Emb. 110 Bandeirante was added to the fleet. Metros were added beginning in 1981
In 1972 Cascade operated to 5 cities. By the end of 1979 Cascade served 13 cities in 3 states with 12 Beech 99s and 3 Bandeirantes. The year 1981 saw the addition of 2 HS-748s to the fleet,and services extended to Idaho, Montana and Salt Lake City
In 1984 routes had reached Calgary, and 22 other cities in the Northwest BAC-111-400s were added to handle the growth. But, Horizon came on in 1981 , well financed and rapidly growing, which in the end led to Cascade's demise in 1986.
Christman Beech 99 #1
Christman was born in 1965 as Pitt Airways, but was renamed Keystone Commuter in 1969, upon the arrival of 2 new Beech 99s. At the time only 4 destinations were served. In 1979 the airline was purchased by Walter Christman, and renamed. The image shown on this Christman issue was also used on a 1983 calendar postcard.
Christman Beech 99 #4 KCF
Christman was a logistics company, and issued this combination postcard, kindly shared by Kuo-Ching Fu.
Christman Beech 99 #3
By 1985, Christman was serving 9 destinations from its Pittsburgh hub. The new Beech C-99 shown on this airline issue was added in 1981. The Bandeirante was added in 1985, but the airline ceased operations shortly thereafter.
Command SD-330 #1
Command Airways was formed in 1955, as Mid Hudson Airlines, operating from
Poughkeepsie to new York City with Beech 18s. The airline prospered with a simple structure connecting Albany, Poughkeepsie and White Plains with New York City and Boston. Beech 99s were replaced with the Shorts 330, shown on this common Aviation World card.
Command SD-330 #2
Command was a Launch customer for the 330 and was often featured on Shorts advertising. This hard to find Command issue is one of my favorite cards.
Command was named Commuter Airline of the Year in 1985, expanded its routes into New Hampshire, and was the first US Airline to take delivery of the ATR-42 as shown on this Avimage issue, in early 1986.
But Command became an American Eagle a few months later.
Executive Airlines, another commuter pioneer, began services from Boston to Cape Cod destinations in 1960 using DeHavilland Doves as shown on the Airline issue above. Like PBA, Executive established a Florida division in 1964. By the early 1970s, the Florida division covered the state plus Atlanta with Twin Otters and the Northern division covered 12 cities in New England with Beech 99s. But the airline collapsed, partly due to competition from Air New England, created by Executive founder Joseph Whitney.
G C S Cessna 172 KCF
G C S, (Fisher Brothers Aviation) was a true pioneer, launched in 1951, and operating a flight school as well as scheduled services from Galion and Mansfield Ohio, to Cleveland. This is an amazing airline issue of a Cessna 172 by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu
G C S Beech 18
Scheduled flights initially were operated by Beech 18s as shown on the above schedule card, or Lockheed 12 Electras as on the next panel. In 1969, Fisher Brothers became one of the first Allegheny Commuters.
G C S L-12 Electra
The above card is probably the best L12 Electra ever issued, but most of Fisher Bros. history occurred as an Allegheny commuter, as well as Northwest Air
Link. Midway purchased the Airline to operate Midway Commuter in 1987.
Galaxy Airlines was an extraordinary but short lived commuter based at Cuyahoga County Airport near Cleveland. Launched in 1968, the airline obtained an exemption to operate DC-3s. Services were to Columbus and Cincinnati, and featured cabin service with Continental breakfasts on morning segments. Sadly, it only lasted 1 year.
Card is an IAWP issue.
Golden Pacific Beech 99
Golden Pacific started operations in 1968, with Navajos , but received their first Beech 99 (shown on the above airline issue) in February of 1969. The airline grew rapidly, adding Convair 600s in 1972, but it was unable to continue operations in 1973.
The card is an excellent airline issue, but inexplicably in Black & White.
Golden West DHC-6
Golden West, one of the great names in California commuters, was formed in Van Nuys in 1967, flying routes connecting LA, Palm Springs Oxnard, Pomona and Orange County with Twin Otters. When the airline failed in 1969, its routes as well as its name were assumed by Aero Commuter, which created a network from the Bay area to San Diego. Shown on this airline issue, is a DHC-6 in the later Golden West colors
Golden West SD-330
The new Golden West also included the routes and aircraft of Skymark, which had been acquired by Aero Commuter in 1969. The year 1977 saw the arrival of Shorts SD 330s, introducing cabin service on Golden West Routes, and 1980 brought the DHC-7. Sadly, its enormous debt service forced Golden West to shut down in April 1983.
Shown above is a Golden West issue of their SD-330 from 1977
Imperial was another California Pioneer, started in 1968 with Beech 18s and Queen Airs carrying passengers from Imperial County to San Diego. In 1978 the airline was sold to investors, Cessna 402s were substituted and routes were extended to Yuma, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
The Bandeirantes shown on this Imperial issue were added to the fleet in 1980.
In 1983 Imperial introduced the Shorts SD-360 to its flights along the coastal corridor. Nine destinations were served through Los Angeles, and San Diego Los Angeles flights were at 30 minute intervals. But, perhaps due to proliferation of competition, the Airline shut down in 1986. The card above is a Buchair issue.
Midstate F-27 #1 KCF
Midstate Air Commuter was formed in Marshfield Wisconsin in 1964, initially with Beech 18s, and later as destinations were added Beech 99s including U-1, the 1st 99. By 1978 Midstate was serving 10 destinations with connections at Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis, and introducing Metros. In 1984 the airline had grown to 14 cities in 8 states, and the F-27-500 as shown above was introduced. The airline was acquired by Sentry Insurance in1986, and assets were gradually liquidated until closure in 1989.
Card is a Skyliners issue by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.
Naples Electra #1
Naples Airlines, the Southern division of PBA, was initiated in 1960, to compensate for seasonal demand on PBA's original routes. Provincetown Boston aircraft were used such as this L-10 Electra, shown on an actual Naples issue.
Naples L-10 Electra #2
A slightly different Electra card, issued by Naples Airlines
Naples DC-3 #2
As demand grew, Electras were replaced by DC-3s, now wearing a separate Naples livery, and shuttling passengers from Miami or Tampa to Naples.
In 1980 the delineation stopped and all flights were identified as PBA
North Cay Airways Islander.
North Cay Airways was started in 1964 in San Juan Puerto Rico, to provide flights to nearby island destinations. First flights were piper Cherokee 6s, but by 1969 DC-3s were operating most services. Destinations included St.Croix, Tortola, Calabra, Vieques, and Santo Domingo.
Islanders, as shown on the above airline issue were added in 1970. The aircraft shown, crashed into the sea on approach to St. Croix on Oct 2, 1974. The airline ceased operations shortly thereafter.
Pilgrim, one of the true pioneers as well as one of the most successful commuters was launched in 1962.
Like many, operations began with Beech 18s, but in 1966, Pilgrim added the first DHC-6 Twin otters to operate in the US.
Card is an Aviation World Issue.
Pilgrim Beech 99
Some Beech 99s were added to supplement the Twin Otters in 1978, as shown on this Aviation World issue. Services had expanded to Montreal, Hartford, new Haven, and Boston.
Pilgrim F-27 #2
In 1979, Pilgrim added the first of 7 F-27's. Pilgrim was growing, serving 11 destinations, now with full cabin service. The card is an excellent Pilgrim issue.
Pilgrim F-28-3000 #2
On Jan. 23, 1984, Pilgrim made the big step to pure jets with the acquisition of the Fokker F-28-3000 Fellowship. It debuted on their New York to Ottawa route in early 1964. The airline was operating to 3 destinations in Canada, Washington, Philadelphia and 11 other cities. But an F-27 was lost in a crash and as always happened, the NTSB hammered Pilgrim, crippling their development. The airline was sold to Business Express in 1986. The card is an outstanding oversized Pilgrim issue.
Pocono Beech 18
Pocono began services in 1962, operating flights from New York City to Mt. Pocono with Beech 18s as shown on this Airline Issue. In 1968 it became an Allegheny Commuter, operating Beech 99s to Wilkes Barre, Hazelton and Philadelphia.
Prinair, founded as Aerolineas de Ponce, commenced services in 1966, initially with Aero Commanders, but quickly replaced with upgraded De Havilland Herons, as shown on this Prinair issue.
The primary routes were from San Juan to Ponce, and St Thomas, with up to 20 flights per day. By 1972 it was the largest U S commuter in terms of passengers carried. At its peak, St.Thomas had 36 flights per day.
Prinair Convair 580
In 1980 Prinair took delivery of their 1st Convair 580 shown on the above Prinair issue. The 580s helped to rationalize frequencies, and supplement the aging Heron fleet. CASA 212s were added in 1983, but the airline's fortunes were in decline, and Prinair ceased operations in 1986
Provincetown Boston L-10 Electra
Perhaps the most amazing commuter story is that of Provincetown Boston. In 1949 services were initiated with a Cessna T-50. The Lockheed L10 Electra shown in the above airline issue was added in 1953, and services were extended to Hyannis.
Provincetown Boston DC-3 #1
In 1958, Provincetown Boston acquired Naples Airlines and began to expand in Florida. The DC-3 card shown is a Naples issue, but the view is over Provincetown, MA. By December 1961, the Naples-Miami route became a year round operation.
Provincetown Boston DC-3 #2
From 1968-1975, additional DC-3s were added as traffic grew and Florida routes expanded. The DC-3 shown on this PBA issue is N136PB, purportedly the highest time DC-3 at 94,000 hours.
Provincetown Boston Martin 404
After 1980, founder John Van Arsdale stepped back leaving management to his sons. The name PBA was adopted for all operations. Aggressive expansion grew the fleet to 13 DC-3s and 7 Martin 404s.
This excellent Martin 404 card is a PBA issue.
Provincetown Boston Emb. 110
PBA traffic doubled between 1980 and 1982. Four Emb 110s were ordered, and implemented on Florida Keys Routes, these were the first turbine airliners in PBA's Fleet. Shown is a PBA issue of the Bandeirante.
Provincetown Boston Bandeirante #3 KCF
Provincetown Boston Cessna 402
PBA was very good at matching capacity to demand, and a fleet of 9 passenger Cessna 402s were employed on thinner segments in 1980 and 1981 as shown on this PBA issue.
Provincetown Boston YS-11
The spring of 1982 brought 4 58 seat YS-11s to PBA. Competitors were folding. A public stock offering brought in additional capital, and in 1984 PBA was the largest commuter with 100 aircraft. But a cascade of safety issues,crashes and a forced shutdown began in 1984, and the airline filed Chapter 11 on March 13, 1985. A rescue by People Express failed and eventually ownership passed to Eastern Express carrier Bar Harbor.
Ransome Nord 262
Ransome was launched in March of 1967 with Beech 18s, and the turbine modified Volpar turboliners. In 1969 when Ransome became an Allegheny Commuter, routes included Trenton, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Washington and Richmond and Beech 99s were operating.
The Nord 262 shown on this IAWP issue, is one of 8 obtained from Allegheny during the Allegheny Commuter years. Ransome regained it's independence in 1982.
Ransome DHC-7 #1
Ransome's fleet grew to 8 new DHC-7s, as most of the 262s and Mohawk 298s were retired. The airline added destinations in New England, but the realities of the code share world led to affiliation with Delta in 1983. In 1986, J Dawson Ransome surrendered and sold the airline to Pan American.
Rocky Mountain DHC-7
Rocky Mountain was created as Vail Airways in 1966, operating Twin Otters from Denver to Vail and Aspen. The airline was renamed in 1968. Rapid growth led to the acquisition of the first DHC-7 in the US, as shown on this Rocky Mountain issue.
By 1979, Rocky Mountain was connecting 8 cities to Denver on the Dash 7s. Purchased in 1986 by Continental.
Shawnee Beech 99
Unlike most commuters, Shawnee began service in 1968, operating a large network of Florida Cities with New Beech 99s, as shown on this excellent Shawnee issue. Twin Otters were added, serving Disney World's STOL airport. The over ambitious launch resulted in a shutdown in 1972.
It was reborn in 1973 with DC-3s, operating successfully until purchased by Florida Airlines in 1975
Scheduled Skyways, one of the truly great commuters was launched in 1953, with Cessnas and Piper Aztecs. As the years passed the airline grew from 3 destinations to 24 cities in 7 states in 30 years of continuous service. Early aircraft were replaced by Beech 99s, and in the late 70s Swearingin Metros as shown on this Skyways issue. After 32 years, it was acquired by Air Midwest in 1985.
Southeast F-27 #1
Southeast Airlines (Florida) was created in 1962, to take advantage of National's exit from the Florida Keys. Originally, DC-3s were used, but in 1966 this F-27 was leased to provide Southeast "Commuter Jet" service. This timetable offers a nice view of the aircraft.
Southeast Martin 404 #1
Martin 202s were added in 1969, and by 1972, 404s, as shown on this IAWP issue replaced the F-27s.
Southeast Martin 404 #2
This is the last livery on the Martins at the time of Southeast's shutdown in 1976. Card is an IAWP issue.
Southeast F-27 #2
Southeast was reborn briefly with a focus on international routes. F-27s, and Jet aircraft were used but the airline shut down for good in 1981
Sun Valley Key DHC-6
Sun Valley started in 1965 in Gooding, ID. By 1969 flights were to Sun Valley from Boise and Salt Lake City. Merged with Key Airlines to form Sun Valley Key in 1973, serving Logan, Brigham City, Ogden and Provo with Twin Otters as shown on the airline issue above. Became Key Air in 1976
Swift Aire Navajo
Swiftaire, one of the great California commuters was launched in 1969, based in San Luis Obispo. Early flights were operated with Navajos, as seen on this rare Swiftaire issue. Original services connected San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles with LAX and SFO.
Swift Aire Heron
Growth of the airline was swift, so to speak, and by the mid 1970s, Swift was serving Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento, San Jose and Santa Maria with DeHavilland Herons, shown on this Coincard issue.
Swift Aire Nord 262
The year 1977 brought the first Nord 262s to Swift Aire routes, adding comfort and cabin service to Swift Aire travel. The card shown is a Coincard issue.
Swiftair F-27 #3KCF
By 1980, demand had grown enough to justify adding new F-27-600s to the fleet, as shown on this excellent Fokker issue. The San Luis Obispo runway was lengthened to accommodate the new airliner.
Card provided by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.
Swift Aire F-27 #2
Swift Aire had grown from Navajos to state of the art F-27 Airliners by 1980, but rapidly growing Golden Gate acquired control of the airline in 1981, and the merged airlines collapsed.
The Above F-27 is a Skyliners card.
TAG Airlines (Taxi Air Group) Although Tag began with float planes, in 1957 the airline achieved huge success in connecting Detroit and Cleveland downtown airports with DeHavilland Doves. By 1965 TAG was reaching Columbus, Cincinnati and Pittsburg.
TAG Dove #2 KG
Tag's groundbreaking success was interrupted by the creation of Wright Airlines and a well publicized crash in 1970.
As frequently happened to the commuters, the media hysteria and new competition proved fatal, and TAG ceased operations in August of 1970.
Shown above is the rare TAG issue of their DeHavilland Dove in flight, kindly shared by Kent Gillespie
Wright Beech 18
Wright Air Lines was created in 1966 by former TAG Airways manager Gerald Weller, using 2 Beech E18S aircraft in direct competition with TAG on the Cleveland to Detroit route. N402FW, shown on the above IAWP issue, joined the fleet in 1969.
In 1968 5 DeHavilland Herons were added to handle increasing traffic. Routes were extended to Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati in the 1970s. Card is an IAWP issue.
Wright Beech 99
The economical and efficient Beech 99, as shown on this splendid Wright issue, was added in 1969, and operated through the 1970s.
Wright Convair 440
The Convair 440 was also added in 1972, which added comfort and cabin service to the 5 city network. This excellent card, showing a 440 taking off from Lakefront Airport is Wright Airlines issue.
Wright Convair 600 #1
Convair 600s, as shown on this outstanding Wright issue, replaced the 440s in the late 1970s, Louisville was added, and plans for further expansion were underway.
The Cleveland Detroit route had 12 flights a day in 1980
By 1984, Wright was running 22 flights a day from Cleveland to Detroit, Aeromech had been acquired and the airline had reached from New York to North Carolina. Five Shorts 360s, shown on this Prop Card issue,were delivered, but the enormous expenditures resulted in financial collapse. Wright was gone by July 1985.