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 John Schmidt (dc8schmidt@twc.com) | Home > 
The Local Service Airlines 3/2016
In order to provide reliable air service to smaller towns the CAB created a category of subsidized airlines. Initially equipped with DC-3s, the 13 Local Service airlines gradually grew into thriving regional, and ultimately major airlines before their consumption by the already bloated trunk airlines. They're all gone now, their initial mission long ago undertaken by the Commuter airlines, and gradually abandoned once again as the "Code Share" commuters grow ever larger. But, the 13 Local Service airlines can be revisited through their legacy of postcards.
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Certainly the most innovative of the local service airlines, Allegheny started as All American Aviation, delivering mail and occasional passengers in 1939. By 1949 All American was a passenger carrier and in 1953 changed its name to Allegheny.
Allegheny was first to operate a re engined Convair, (the 540). It forever changed the industry with the creation of the Allegheny Commuter network, and with the inclusion of Lake Central and Mohawk became a major carrier, renaming to US Air in 1979. The last of the Local Service airlines to go, Allegheny (US AIR) was merged into American in 2015.

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Allegheny  DC-3 #1
The beautiful DC-3 card, retaining much of the appearance of All American. Not too easy to find.

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Allegheny  Martin 202 #1
A mint copy of the common Allegheny Martin 202 card, always present in the souvenir flight packs of the time.

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Allegheny  F-27 #1
Excellent Allegheny Issue of their F-27.

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Allegheny  Convair 580 #1
Allegheny's issue of their Convair 580. Sadly, no Convair 540 cards were issued.

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Allegheny  DC-9-30 #6
An outstanding Indianapolis Airport card featuring the Allegheny DC-9-30, in the colors that became US Air.

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Bonanza was launched in 1945 serving several Nevada destinations. In 1949 they began interstate flights with DC-3s, gradually growing west to Phoenix and Los Angeles. The F-27 was introduced in 1959, and all DC-3s were retired by late 1960. DC-9 flights began in 1966, and the airline was finally merged with Pacific and West Coast in 1968 to form Air West.

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Bonanza DC-3 #1
The rather uncommon 1st Bonanza issue of their DC-3 over Hoover Dam.

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Bonanza DC-3 #2
The much more common DC-3 issued by Western Resort Publications

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Bonanza F-27 #4TH
This is the rare Bonanza F-27 card issued in 1960. Similar to, but a closer view than the later F-27 / DC-9 Twin Cards.  This card by courtesy of Terry Hale.

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Bonanza F-27 #1
Another view of the Bonanza F-27 over Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. This card also issued by Western Resort Publications.

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Bonanza DC-9-10 #2
This is the splendid in flight DC-9 half of the oversized Bonanza twin cards issued in 1966. One of my favorite DC-9 cards.

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Central Airlines began service in 1949, attempting to operate Beech Bonanzas. Discovering quickly that passengers preferred to fly on an airliner, Central began DC-3 services in 1950. The fleet grew to 16 DC-3s and 8 ex American Convair 240s by the late 50s, and Central was one of the first to acquire Convair 600s, operating 11. DC-9s were on order at the time of their acquisition by Frontier.

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Central  DC-3 #3
I believe this was the first Central issue, featuring their DC-3.

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Central  DC-3 #1
A second bluetone of the DC-3 which seems to be more common than the first. Central later issued a color art card of the DC-3 in 1959.

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Central  Convair 240 #4
A splendid card of Central's Convair 240 in flight. This image was also used on an oversized card.

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Central  Convair 240 #2
An outstanding oversized Convair card from Central, which was also released in a standard size.

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Central  Convair 600
An excellent card of Central's Convair 600 in their final colors. Their DC-9s would have been delivered in this livery.

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Frontier, by many measures the largest local service airline, was formed by a merger of Challenger and Arizona Airways into Monarch in 1950. At that time it flew to 40 cities with 12 DC-3s. Growth at Frontier in destinations and fleet was phenomenal. Fleet expansion included Convair 580s 727s 737s and ultimately MD-80s. However, in 1986 it was acquired by People Express in the midst of financial struggles, and was finally acquired by Continental at the end of the year.

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Frontier  DC-3 #3
A beautiful DC-3 card, the more common of 2 featuring their route map.

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Frontier  Convair 440 #1
The only black & white card issued by Frontier was this Convair 440 on the ramp.

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Frontier  Convair 580 #3
A rare oversized card of Frontier's 580. The 580s were the main aircraft serving Frontier routes in the 60s.

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Frontier  727-200 #2
An outstanding card of Frontier's 727-200, painted in the classic Frontier livery.

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Frontier  MD-80 #1
This splendid DC-9-80 card was the final issue from this great local service airline.

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Lake Central began operations in 1950, operating a network centered on Indianapolis. Steady growth led to the addition of Convairs, and the bold acquisition of the French Nord 262. The Convair 580 was Lake Central's main airliner when it was acquired by Allegheny in 1968

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Lake Central DC-3 #1
The first Lake Central issue was this blue tone of their DC-3 in flight. Issued I believe in 1957.

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Lake Central DC-3 #4
A beautiful in flight card of the DC-3 in 1960s livery.

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Lake Central Convair 440 #8
An IAWP Historical card of the Convair. It seems strange that Lake Central would issue 4 Convair cards, all black & white, when for example, this view could have been used.

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Lake Central Nord 262 #1
The spectacular Lake Central Nord 262 card. Not that easy to find, it is in my view the best Nord 262 ever issued.

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Lake Central Convair 580 #1
An excellent in flight card of Lake Central's Convair 580. This livery was abandoned in favor of the hideous Heart scheme before the Allegheny merger.
"Can you order prints of this..."
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The route of the "Air Chiefs" undoubtedly could not operate today, so we're fortunate that Mohawk was created in 1952. It originated in 1946 as Robinson Airlines, until controlling interest was purchased by Robert Peach. Mohawk was the first local service airline to fly pressurized aircraft in 1955, when it introduced Convair 240 "Air Chiefs". As Mohawk grew, Convair 440s, Martin 404s & F-27s were added, and in 1965, Mohawk became the first Local Service Jet operator, introducing BAC-111s. In 1972 Mohawk was acquired by Allegheny, bringing to an end the Route of the Air Chiefs.

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Mohawk DC-3 #1
A very nice Oneida County Airport issue of Mohawk's DC-3

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Mohawk Convair 240 #1
An excellent in flight Mohawk issue of their Convair 240, the first pressurized airliner in service with the Locals.

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Mohawk Convair 440 #1
An excellent Mohawk issue of their Convair 440.

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Mohawk FH-227
This Warren County Airport issue is my best postcard view of the FH-227. The Fairchild was featured on a Mohawk calendar card with the BAC-111.

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Mohawk BAC-111-200 #1
Mohawk led the local service industry with the introduction of the BAC-111. This is my favorite of 4 Mohawk and British Aircraft issues.

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North Central was founded in 1944 as Wisconsin Central Airlines. By 1947 Herman the Duck graced their Electras, and continued on North Central Airliners until the Southern Merger in 1979. At one time the airline operated 32 DC-3s. Convair 440s, were added, followed by 580s, and in 1967 DC-9-30s arrived. DC-9-50s were later added to the DC-9 fleet before the merger.

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Wisconsin Central L-10 Electra
A rare card of North Central predecessor Wisconsin Central's L-10 Electra, featuring the Duck

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North Central DC-3 #2
This splendid DC-3 card was produced for Airliners International in Milwaukee, an original North Central image.

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North Central Convair 440 #2
An excellent Milwaukee Airport card showing North Central's Convair 440

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North Central Convair 580 #1
An excellent in flight card of the North Central Convair 580. An IAWP Historical issue.

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North Central DC-9-30 #1
A very nice North Central issue of their DC-9-30.

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Ozark originated in 1950, introducing DC-3 flights from St. Louis to Chicago Tulsa and Memphis. Steady growth led to the introduction of F-27s, Martin 404s and Convair 240s in the 1960s. DC-9s and ultimately MD-80s were placed in service as Ozark grew into a significant Regional Airline. Ozark died on Oct. 27, 1986, merged into TWA.

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Ozark DC-3 #2
The first Ozark issue of their upgraded DC-3.

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Ozark Convair 240
A nice view of Ozark's ex American Convair 240. Card is a Dubuque Airport Issue.

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Ozark FH-227
The Splendid Ozark Issue of their FH-227.

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Ozark DC-9-10 #1
Ozark issued a number of DC-9 cards. This oversized DC-9-14 is my favorite.

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Ozark MD-80
The final Ozark issue was of their beautiful DC-9-80, shortly before their acquisition by TWA

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Pacific was founded as Southwest Airlines in 1941, linking smaller communities in California with Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was renamed Pacific in 1958, added F-27s and revolutionized the Local Service industry with the order of 6 727s in 1965. The airline endured heavy competition from PSA and United before merging with Bonanza and West Coast to form Air West. Pacific will live on in infamy as the only Local Service airline that issued no postcards.

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Southwest  DC-3
An excellent view of Southwest's DC-3 on the ramp. Card is an IAWP Historical Issue.

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Southwest  Martin 202 #1A
This Los Angeles Airport issue is an excellent view of a Southwest Martin 202.

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Pacific  Martin 404 #1
An excellent portrait style card of the Pacific Martin 404. The only card I've seen issued by "Airliners of America"

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Pacific  F-27 #2
A ramp view of Pacific's F-27 in the final colors. An IAWP Historical issue.

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Pacific  727-100
A splendid in flight card of Pacific's 727, at the time a giant step for a local service airline.

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One of the most successful local service Airlines, Piedmont was formed in 1948. A thriving Southeast marketplace helped propel Piedmont into a major airline. extending from New York to Miami to Denver and ultimately the west coast. DC-3s were replaced by F-27s and Martin 404s, and as the 70s came new hubs and an assortment of jetliners came capped by the acquisition of 767-200s and non stop flights to London. Sadly, in 1989 Piedmont was acquired by US Air.

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Piedmont DC-3 #1
A splendid Piedmont issue of their DC-3.

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Piedmont F-27 #1
Piedmont's only card of the F-27, issued in 1959.

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Piedmont 737-200 #1
An outstanding in flight card of Piedmont's 737-200 in the original colors.Piedmont Issue

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Piedmont F-28-1000
Piedmont made a major buy of F-28s, mostly ex Garuda aircraft. This excellent in flight view is a Stam issue from the Netherlands.

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Piedmont 727-200 #1
A very nice Piedmont issue of their 727-200 in flight.

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Southern Airways was created in 1949, operating a fleet of all DC-3s until 1961. Martin 404s were introduced in 1961, and by 1967, Southern had joined the ranks of DC-9 operators. In an unusual step, Southern introduced the Metro on low density routes as it grew into a major airline, extending from New York to Grand Cayman. Under mounting financial pressure, Southern merged into North Central to become Republic in 1979

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Southern  DC-3 #1
One of the really nice in flight DC-3 cards, this is Southern's first postcard.

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Southern  Martin 404 #1
One of the few in flight Martin 404 cards is this airline issued Southern "Aristocrat"

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Southern  DC-9-10 #2
A splendid oversized Southern issue of N95S their first DC-9. I flew it many times.

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Southern  Metro
The only card I've ever seen of the Southern Metro, a great leap backward in my view. This is an IAWP Historical Issue.

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Southern  DC-9-30
An outstanding Southern Issue of the DC-9-30, their primary aircraft at the time of the merger.

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Trans Texas originated in 1947,operating from Dallas and Houston to other Texas communities with a fleet of DC-3 "Sunliners". In 1961 Trans Texas introduced ex American Convair 240s, later converting them to 600s. Like other Local service carriers, Trans Texas grew steadily to become a large regional airline operating DC-9s and renaming to Texas International Airlines. In 1982 Texas International was merged into Continental.

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Trans Texas DC-3 #1
This was the 2nd Trans Texas issue, following an art card of a Stewardess issued in the mid 1950s. A nice view of the DC-3 "Sunliner" in flight.

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Trans Texas Convair 240 #1
In my view one of the best Convair 240 cards, this is TTA's beautiful in flight card, issued around 1962.

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Trans Texas Convair 600
Like Central, Trans Texas converted their 240s to the Dart powered 600s, and issued this in flight view.

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Texas International DC-9-30 #1
This is a surprisingly hard to find card of the DC-9 in the Texas International colors.  They did not issue a DC9 in Trans Texas livery.

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Texas International DC-9-30 #2
The final Texas International issue of their DC-9, prior to the Continental merger.

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West Coast began operations in 1946 with a fleet of DC-3 "Scenicliners". It became the first official Local Service Airline that year. It also became the first Local Service Airline to operate turbine powered equipment, introducing the Fairchild F-27 in 1958. Later growth lead to the introduction of the DC-9, but in 1968 the Air West mergers put an end to the Airline.

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West Coast DC-3 #1
This is the first West Coast issue, showing their DC-3 with route map, issued in the early 1950s. Rather hard to find.

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West Coast F-27 #4
I believe this is the first F-27 issue from West Coast, also rather hard to find. West Coast was the first Fairchild F-27 operator.

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West Coast F-27 #1
My favorite West Coast F-27 card is this airline issue flying over the Golden Gate.

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West Coast F-27 #3
Another nice West Coast issue of their F-27 in later colors.

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West Coast DC-9-10 #1
This is West Coast's issue of their DC9, issued in 1967. Shortly after, West Coast became part of Air West.

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