Braniff (1983–1990)

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This article is about Braniff, Inc.. For earlier and later airlines using the name, see Braniff International Airways and Braniff (1991–1992).
Braniff, Inc.
Braniff2logo.png
IATA
BN
ICAO
BNF
Callsign
BRANIFF
Founded December 15, 1983, incorporated Nevada November, 1983
Commenced operations March 1, 1984
Ceased operations December 31, 1989
Hubs
Frequent-flyer program Metroplex Club, Mileage Plus, Get It All
Fleet size 57 as of April 15, 1989
Parent company Dalfort Corporation until 1988 then BIA-COR Holdings, Inc.
Headquarters Dallas, Texas
then Orlando, Florida
Key people Jay Pritzker (First CEO)
William Slattery (President)
William G. McGee (Final CEO)
Joe Mitchell (One of Five Last Employees)

Braniff Inc. was a U.S. based airline and successor to Braniff International Airways. The domestic air carrier was originally headquartered at 7701 Lemmon Avenue, Dallas Love Field, Dallas, Texas, and later headquartered at Orlando, Florida. It was partially formed from the assets of the original Braniff International Airways. The airline is sometimes referred to as "Braniff II".[1]

History[edit]

One of the Airbus A320s operated by the airline

Hyatt Corporation and Dalfort[edit]

In 1984, the Hyatt Corporation reorganized the company and the airline flew once again using the Braniff name. Jay Pritzker, of Hyatt Hotels, masterminded the reorganization of the original Braniff International Airways and successfully brought the airline out of bankruptcy on December 15, 1983. The new entity was commenced with a total capitalization of 100 million USD (70 million USD from Hyatt and 30 million USD in Airways' assets) and virtually no debt. Braniff Airways, Inc., incorporated in Nevada, in November 1983, was then changed to "Dalfort Corporation" and a "new" Braniff, named Braniff, Inc., was formed.[1] Hyatt Corporation owned 80 percent of the newly formed Dalfort Corporation and Braniff, Inc., was created as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dalfort. Ron Ridgeway was named president.[1]

In June 1982, a trust was created to protect the interests of Braniff Airways and Braniff International Corporation senior creditors. James W. Toren of the Wilmington Trust Company, were both assigned as trustees of the newly formed BRNF Liquidating Trust. The BRNF Trust took control of certain Airways aircraft that had been used as collateral against Airways' and Corporation's debt. BRNF Trust leased 30 Boeing 727-200 series trijet aircraft to the new Braniff, Inc., in December 1983. These aircraft were used to launch the new Braniff on March 31, 1984.[1][2]

New Braniff Prepares For Launch[edit]

On Thursday, March 1, 1984, Braniff, Inc., the successor to Braniff Airways, Inc., and Braniff International Corporation, inaugurated service from its Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport hub to eighteen major US cities. It was the largest single day successful airline startup in US history.

"Braniff will not fly again. Go find another job!" Howard D. Putnam, Braniff Airways, Inc., Braniff International Corporation, Chairman, June 1982

The Braniff Family took Mr. Putnam's advice and embarked on a plan to create a new Braniff. True to form they did it one better, and started their own airline literally from the ground up. Braniff Airways ceased operations on May 12–13, 1982, and 22 months later a new reborn Braniff, Inc., was launched amidst great pride not only from the Braniff Family but from the citizens of the Dallas/Ft Worth area.

It was a long and hard fought battle to put Braniff back into the air. The management at Airways was not interested in launching a new Braniff but preferred to retire the Braniff name and find a merger partner or a buyer for Airways' assets. Initially, in October 1982, a planned merger between Airways and Pacific Southwest was proposed. PSA wanted to begin a low cost no frills carrier in Texas with DFW as its base and the assets of Airways looked to be a promising way to achieve this goal.

The new PSA Braniff would be operated as a separate entity and would become known as Pacific Southwest Airlines or PSA. The new entity would use some former Braniff employees and operate a select number of Airways' Boeing 727-200 series trijets. The plan met with resistance from Airways' labor groups but most importantly from the Federal Aviation Administration who was not pleased with the acquisition of Braniff Airways' landing slots at various proposed airports of service. The deal quickly fell through and Airways' began searching for another merger partner.

However, retired Braniff Airways pilots Captain Jack Morton and Captain Glenn Shoop proposed launching a new Braniff that would operate on its own under the famed and well known Braniff moniker. The two pilots created a business plan that said the new carrier could operate Boeing 727-200 series trijets at 5 cents per Available Seat Mile. Initial offering of the prospectus drew little interest but Captain Shoop contacted Dallas businessman Bruce Leadbetter who contacted Hyatt Hotels Chairman Jay Pritzker. Mr. Pritzker was interested in the Morton/Shoop Braniff proposal and agreed to discuss a possible deal.

Once convinced, Pritzker submitted a letter of intent, in April 1983, to Judge John Flower's Bankruptcy Court in Ft Worth, Texas, that was administering the Airways' and Braniff International Corporation's proceedings. Airways' management was not interested in the plan but was eventually cajoled into agreeing that it was the best course of action for Airways' employees, and creditors. Airways' Board of Directors approved the Hyatt plan on May 12, 1983, exactly one year after the cessation of operations of Airways. Creditors and Labor Groups accepted and approved the new plan by September 1983, and then Braniff was quickly becoming a reality.[2]

If there was ever a group of dedicated employees to admire it was the Braniff Family. Once again, they were called to help Braniff and many came to get the new airline flying again. Countless hours of free labor were given to the new venture. A renewed Braniff Spirit was in charge now and it was clear that the future would hold only the best for the new Braniff.[3]

Braniff, Inc. Aircraft Color Schemes[edit]

In October 1983, once the Hyatt Corporation plan to resurrect Braniff had been approved by Judge Flower's Court and Braniff's Labor Groups and Creditors, it was decided that a new look would be created for the exterior of Braniff's thirty leased Boeing 727-200 series aircraft. Bob Perlman, Boeing Corporation's Director of Communications and Designer was tasked with creating a new look for the March 1, 1984, relaunch of the venerable Texas based carrier.

A modernized version of the 1959 Red White and Blue El Dorado Scheme was decided upon that included a White Upper Fuselage, Dark Blue Lower Fuselage and a Platinum Pewter Silver Cheat Line to separate the two main colors. Large bold stylized Braniff lettering in Red was used on the forward fuselage but below the window line on the white painted fuselage area. The same lettering was uniquely angled up the vertical tail surfaces that followed the Pewter and Blue up the rear portion of the rudder surface.

While the color scheme was attractive it was a dramatic departure from the beautiful and bold solid colors of Alexander Girard and Harper and George and tended to make the new Braniff blend in with the rest of the red white and blue standard industry look. Braniff would retain this scheme until the late 1980s when a variety of modifications would be seen including the placement of the Perlman design on a bare fuselage. A majority of the hybrid Perlamn Schemes were as a result of the leased aircraft types arriving in the fleet.

A bizarre Reebok Scheme was temporarily applied to some aircraft but was quickly decided against. In the late 1980s, the company decided to return to its roots with the reintroduction of the Harper and George/Cars and Concepts/Halston Ultra Color Scheme. A slightly modified Alexander Girard Sky Font was used in place of the Cars and Concepts Braniff Script. For Braniff's new Airbus A320-231 aircraft a unique Braniff Billboard Scheme was applied that featured a White Upper Fuselage, Light Blue Lower Fuselage, and massive Red, Purple, or Grey Braniff lettering down the entire length of the aircraft body. The lettering was a modified Girard Sky Font.[3]

Inauguration of Service March 1, 1984[edit]

After a special ribbon cutting ceremony at The Braniff Terminal 2W Gate 13A at DFW the first flight of the new Braniff, Inc., Flight 200 departed for New Orleans, Louisiana, at 650AM using a Boeing 727-227 registered as N446BN. The next departure was Flight 131 with a Boeing 727-214 registered as N409BN heading to San Antonio International Airport. Flight 720 was next out for Newark using Boeing 727-227 N459BN and finally Flight 151 departed for Houston with a Boeing 727-227 registered as N453BN.[3]

The successor to Braniff Airways, Inc., and Braniff International Corporation inaugurated services on March 1, 1984, from its Dallas/Ft Worth Airport hub to eighteen major US cities. Oklahoma City, Braniff's former headquarters and first city that a Braniff scheduled flight departed from in 1928, held a special ceremony to celebrate the launching of the new Braniff.

At DFW on the morning of March 1, 1984, Braniff Flight 200 departed from The Braniff Terminal 2W Gate 13A, on time at 650AM, for New Orleans, Louisiana, officially marking the beginning of service for the new Braniff, Inc. The first flight included a delicious breakfast for everyone on board the flight. Invited guests for the inaugural ceremonies included Braniff executives, retired and former Airways' employees, civic leaders and members of the press who gathered at the former Hawaii Green Surfer Room and later Concorde International Room adjacent to Gate 13 to take part in the inaugural ceremonies.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the entrance to Gate 13A with Braniff and Hyatt Chair Jay A. Prizker and Braniff President William D. Slattery jointly cutting the ceremonial ribbon. The Braniff Crew on the first flight featured Captain Jack Murdock as Pilot In Command. Captain Murdock along with Captain Shoop and Captain Morton were highly instrumental in making the first flight of Braniff, Inc. possible. John Beckman served as Co-Pilot, Richard Rudman Flight Engineer rounded out the rest of the experienced cockpit crew with Mary Morris, Jean Kouns, Cynthia Zell, and Mary Furlich efficiently tending to the main cabin.[2][3]

Inaugural Celebration at Oklahoma City[edit]

Descendants of the original founding Braniff family members were on hand at a special celebration in Oklahoma City, home of Braniff's first flight in June 1928. The Braniff descendants enjoying refreshments at Braniff Gate 22 at Will Rogers World Airport were Braniff co-founder Paul Revere Braniff's son John Paul Braniff, Sr., and John Paul's son Michael A. Braniff. The two Braniff's were the guests of honor aboard the inaugural flight of Braniff, Inc., out of Oklahoma City heading to DFW Airport.

Flight 103 departed 20 minutes late out of Will Rogers due to the special ceremonies that preceded the history making flight. Scheduled departure time was 927AM but the flight arrived at DFW Airport at 1015AM and slightly late once parked at the gate. Flight 103 was one of 72 new Braniff flights that were launched on March 1, making the launch of the new Braniff the single largest scheduled airline startup in aviation history. Flight 102 from Dallas/Ft Worth to Oklahoma City had arrived earlier in the morning in order to be in position for the OKC to DFW inaugural flight.

Braniff Captain TE Watkins commanded the Boeing 727-200 Trijet from OKC to DFW. John Paul Braniff, Sr., sent his commemorative timetable to the cockpit for Captain Watkins to sign. Back in the cabin the senior Braniff was busy signing autographs on timetables and an array of other Braniff, Inc., memorabilia that passengers asked him to sign. Upon arrival at DFW Airport the Braniff's were greeted by Braniff, Inc.'s, new President William D. Slattery.

Mr. Braniff, Sr., gave several speeches to Braniff employees during his tour of the new Braniff DFW facilities in Terminal 2W. He noted that, "this is a very touching scene, a very touching time." Mr. Braniff's son Michael, a student at Oklahoma State University, said that he would definitely get an A in history this semester. Braniff, Sr., was highly impressed with the special Braniff Champagne bottles, specially made for the inaugural day celebration,that bore his surname.[4]

Original Cities Served March 1, 1984[edit]

Braniff, Inc., Non Stop Boeing 727-200 Trijet service from DFW to eighteen major metropolitan areas included:[5]

  • Oklahoma City
  • Tulsa
  • Chicago
  • Detroit
  • New York Newark
  • New York LaGuardia
  • Philadelphia
  • Washington Dulles
  • Washington National
  • Miami
  • New Orleans
  • Houston
  • Austin
  • San Antonio
  • Los Angeles
  • Las Vegas
  • San Francisco
  • Denver

Braniff Business Cabin[edit]

In a move to cater specifically to the business traveler, Braniff, Inc., created the Braniff Business Cabin concept that called for a movable partition to be installed in the aircraft to divide up the two sections that would be installed on its aircraft. Business Cabin was placed in the front portion of the aircraft where all full Coach paying passenger will be seated. Braniff noted that it was not uncommon for a full Coach fare passenger to be seated next to a leisure passenger who might have paid 50 percent less or more for his fare. The leisure traveler was able to take advantage of 7 day advance fares or stay over a Saturday night which lowered their fare considerably. Braniff's Business Cabin eliminated this disenfranchisement of the full Coach fare paying passenger. Business Cabin service reflected the higher Coach fare that was paid by business travelers. With the movable partition, which was the first use of a movable bulkhead in the airline industry, allowed Braniff to adjust the sections of the aircraft to passenger loads and fare types.

Braniff Business Cabin service was in the manner of First Class and offered improved service levels in all customer service areas including improved inflight meal service. The business traveler became the focus of Braniff not only during flight but also at the airport. Braniff provided quick and efficient check in and strove for on time departures.[6] New large and roomy overhead luggage storage was installed on all Braniff aircraft. The new compartments were large enough to lay hanging bags completely flat. Other Braniff Business Cabin inflight amenities included a choice of meal entrees and a complimentary newspaper.[7]

Braniff Frequent Flyer Program[edit]

During the first year of operation Braniff's frequent flyer program was called Metroplex Club along with a frequent flyer incentive program called Mileage Plus in conjunction with United Airlines. Travelers could earn points for travel on Braniff that could be used for free travel at a future time. Braniff joined with United Airlines so that Braniff passengers flying on United could also earn frequent flyer miles.

Mileage Plus also gave passengers access to Lufthansa, SAS, and Air New Zealand and the wealth of international destinations that these carriers served such as Hawaii, London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Braniff travelers could also access cruise travel on Royal Viking to the Caribbean.[7]

In January 1988, Braniff changed the name of its frequent flyer program to Get It All. The new program was aimed at the higher yield business travel market and featured an 18 month rolling award program. Travelers could only use their awards within 18 months of it being earned. A sizable increase in available awards along with free travel and vacation packages were key features of the enhanced Braniff Get It All frequent flyer program.[8]

Administrative Offices at Love Field[edit]

Braniff Inc. moved its administrative offices into the former Dallas Love Field (DAL) headquarters of Braniff International Airways located at 7701 Lemmon Avenue in the city of Dallas although the airline actually served the area via the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).[9]

Low Fares and Single Class Service[edit]

Braniff's initial plan to emphasize top line service to business travelers was not successful as it lost a large amount of money during its first six months of operation. In September 1984, a strategic change was made to Braniff's business model that included a single class of service and low fares. Braniff's slogan "Best Low Fare in the Air" reflected its vision of offering low-cost, unrestricted fares on every flight, every day. All seats on the planes were leather and only one class of service was offered: there was no business or first class section. By 1988, Braniff had chosen Kansas City International Airport (MCI) as its main hub and was operating over 70 flights per day out of Kansas City. Following the acquisition of Florida Express Airlines in 1988, a second smaller hub was also operated at the Orlando International Airport (MCO) with over 30 flights per day.[8]

Actor Wilford Brimley became something of a spokesperson for the airline with his "Dance With the One that Brung Ya" commercials. According to the airline's September 1, 1989 system timetable, Braniff was serving 40 airports in the U.S. and the Bahamas with mainline jet service. Nassau was the airline's only international destination at this time. Additional destinations were served from Kansas City by regional air carriers Air Midwest and Midcontinent Airlines which utilized turboprop and prop aircraft to provide connecting feeder service via respective code sharing agreements. These carriers operated as Braniff Express and their aircraft were painted in a special Express Color Scheme.[2]

Acquisition of Florida Express Airlines[edit]

In April 1988, Braniff, Inc., acquired Orlando-based Florida Express Airlines and assumed operation of their routes and BAC One-Eleven jet aircraft. This development led to Braniff once again operating several of the same BAC One-Eleven aircraft that Braniff International had disposed of in the 1960s.[10] The original Braniff was the first operator and launch customer of the BAC One-Eleven in the U.S. On April 19, 1988, Florida Express became a wholly owned subsidiary of Braniff, Inc. On that date a special meeting of Florida Express, Inc., shareholders was held and the acquisition of Florida Express by Braniff was approved by a majority of the stockholder's of date.[11]

Braniff Ownership Change[edit]

In June 1988, Braniff, Inc., was purchased from Dalfort Corporation via a stock purchase agreement by BIA-COR Holdings, Inc., with Braniff becoming a subsidiary of BIA-COR Holdings, and BIA Acquisitions, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of BIA-COR. BIA-COR purchased a sufficient amount of Braniff stock to gain voting control over the airline. A merger agreement was executed to merge Braniff with BIA Acquisitions. The merger of BIA and Braniff was completed on October 24, 1988, with all assets of BIA being transferred to Braniff, Inc. BIA-COR Holdings, formed by the Paine Weber Group who provided a bridge loan for the Braniff, Inc., acquisition, was headed by financier Jeffrey Chodorow, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coregroup, an investor company based in Philadelphia. New York real estate developer Arthur G. Cohen, was also a major principal of BIA-COR Holdings, Inc.[12]

A new senior management team, from Piedmont Airlines, Inc., was installed that included William G. McGee as Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, W. Howard MacKinnon, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and Richard L. James, Executive Vice President - Planning. At the time of the BIA-COR acquisition Braniff, Inc., was the 13th largest airline in the United States in terms of Revenue Passenger Miles flown system wide. As of April 15, 1989, the carrier served 39 destinations in the United States and Nassau in the Bahamas. Braniff operated 24 Boeing 727-200 and 18 BAC One-11, and 15 Boeing 737-200 aircraft. Twenty Boeing 727's were leased from the BRNF Liquidating Trust as a result of the original December 15, 1983, lease agreement and the remaining four were leased from outside lessors. Ten Boeing 737's were leased from Polaris and the remaining four were subleased from American Airlines via Core Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of BIA-COR Holdings. All eighteen BAC One-11 twinjets were leased from outside leasing entities.[8]

New Aircraft Orders[edit]

In 1988, the airline's debts were beginning to increase. Braniff ordered new Fokker F100 jetliners; however, these aircraft could not be delivered in a timely fashion due to an order backlog from fellow U.S. carriers and F100 operators American Airlines and US Airways. Then fifty (50) Airbus A320 aircraft orders were taken over from Pan Am. In 1989, the first two A320s were introduced in order to increase Braniff's presence in the Florida market. The new Airbus aircraft proved to be very expensive to operate. The second incarnation of Braniff also operated Boeing 727-200 and Boeing 737-200 jetliners during its existence.[10]

Headquarters Moves To Orlando[edit]

In 1988, Braniff moved its headquarters from Dallas, Texas, to Orlando, Florida. This was only the third headquarters location since Braniff's original founding in 1928. The carrier was originally based in Oklahoma City and moved its headquarters to Dallas Love Field in 1942, and to DFW Airport, Texas, in 1978. Braniff, Inc., moved its headquarters back to Dallas Love Field in December 1983, and remained there until the move to Orlando, Florida. The airline had begun moving its hub operation from DFW Airport to Kansas City and Orlando as a result of the merger with Florida Express. Eastern Airlines had abandoned its large hub at Kansas City International Airport and Braniff was positioned to step in and take over two of the three circular terminals at the midwest airport.[13][14]

Bankruptcy and Cessation of Operations[edit]

In September 1989, the airline filed for bankruptcy protection.[15] In November 1989 the airline suspended scheduled airline operations.[16] Braniff continued operating a limited Boeing 727 charter operation but finally ceased operations at the end of December 1989. A buyer was sought, but never found, and the company agreed to liquidate all assets in three separate auctions.

Braniff, Inc's., parent company BIA-Cor Holdings purchased the assets of the carrier for pennies on the dollar. These assets were used to start the third reincarnation of Braniff in 1991, called Braniff International Airlines, Inc. America West Airlines subsequently acquired the Airbus A320s that were originally delivered to Braniff. Braniff, Inc. existed until 1998, when Joe Mitchell, Keith Rosenberg, and four other employees closed the airline's files.[1]

Destinations[edit]

The following destination information is taken from the Braniff September 1, 1989 system timetable:

  • Albuquerque, NM (ABQ)
  • Atlanta, GA (ATL)
  • Boston, MA (BOS)
  • Chicago, IL (ORD)
  • Cleveland, OH (CLE)
  • Columbus, OH (CMH)
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (DFW)
  • Denver, CO (DEN)
  • Detroit, MI (DTW)
  • Ft. Lauderdale, FL (FLL)
  • Ft. Myers, FL (RSW)
  • Houston, TX (IAH)
  • Indianapolis, IN (IND)
  • Kansas City, MO (MCI) - Primary Hub
  • Las Vegas, NV (LAS)
  • Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
  • Miami, FL (MIA)
  • Milwaukee, WI (MKE)
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (MSP)
  • Nassau, Bahamas (NAS) - only international destination.
  • Newark, NJ (EWR)
  • New York City, NY - LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • Oklahoma City, OK (OKC)
  • Omaha, NE (OMA)
  • Ontario, CA (ONT)
  • Orlando, FL (MCO) - Secondary Hub
  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
  • Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
  • St. Louis, MO (STL)
  • San Antonio, TX (SAT)
  • San Diego, CA (SAN)
  • San Francisco, CA (SFO)
  • Seattle, WA (SEA)
  • Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL (TPA)
  • Tucson, AZ (TUS)
  • Tulsa, OK (TUL)
  • Washington, DC - Reagan Airport (DCA)
  • Washington, DC - Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • West Palm Beach, FL (PBI)
  • Wichita, KS (ICT)

Jet Fleet[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Braniff, Inc". 1986 Annual Report: 1–2. Fiscal Year Ending January 31, 1987.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d Nance, John J. (1984). Splash of Colors The Self Destruction of Braniff International. New York: William Morrow and Company. p. 373. ISBN 0-688-03586-8. 
  3. ^ a b c d Cearley, Jr., George Walker (1986). Braniff 1965-1986. Dallas, Texas: Airline Publications. pp. 71–72. 
  4. ^ Nelson, Mary Jo. "New Braniff Up and Running 20 Minutes Late". NewsOK. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Braniff". System Timetable: all. March 1, 1984. 
  6. ^ Collins, Jan Shaw (April 1984). "Braniff's William Slattery". Prevue 2: 10–11. 
  7. ^ a b "Starting March 1 The New Braniff Is Up And Running". Braniff Business: all. January 1984. 
  8. ^ a b c "Braniff, Inc.". 1988 Annual Report: 1–5. Fiscal Year Ended January 31, 1989.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ McCartney, Scott. "New Boss, New Braniff." Associated Press at The Victoria Advocate. February 24, 1984. 4C. Google News page 62 of 86. Retrieved on August 17, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Norwood, Tom. Deregulation Knockouts: Round One. 
  11. ^ "Welcome, Florida Express!". Braniff Update 4 (5): 1. May 13, 1988. 
  12. ^ Eichenwald, Kurt. "Four Take Braniff Posts After Buyout". www.nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Hagstrom, Suzy. "BRANIFF SEEKS FUNDS, HIRES MERRILL LYNCH." Orlando Sentinel. October 27, 1989. A1. Retrieved on August 17, 2009.
  14. ^ "Braniff Hopes Third Time's the Charm." Associated Press at St. Petersburg Times. Wednesday June 19, 1991. 2E. Google News Page 38 of 101. Retrieved on August 17, 2009.
  15. ^ Norwood, Tom. Deregulation Knockouts: Round One. 
  16. ^ McDowell, Edwin. "COMPANY NEWS; New Braniff Airline To Start Flying July 1." The New York Times. Wednesday June 19, 1991. Retrieved on August 17, 2009.

External links[edit]