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Capitol Air (originally known as Capitol International Airways) was a charter airline from the United States, which was operational from 1946 to 1982. It was founded by former Army Air Corps pilots, Jesse Stallings, Richmond McGinnis, and Francis Roach, following the end of World War II. The European Director of Operations was Chuck Carr, the Director France Michel Lelièvre and the LBG Airport Mngr, P. Landelle. Gatwick Ops was the European Office. In the late 1970s, Capitol Air became a scheduled carrier following the passage of the Air Deregulation Act of 1978. The airline was incorporated in Delaware but headquartered in Smyrna, Tennessee.
Capitol Air maintained a large presence in the eastern United States and Europe. Its hubs were John F. Kennedy International Airport Hangar 11 in New York City, Brussels, Belgium and San Juan, Puerto Rico. From New York/JFK Capitol Air served Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Brussels (BRU), Frankfurt (FRA), Paris, France (LBG) Aguadilla (BQN), San Juan (SJU) and Puerto Plata (POP). From San Juan its served Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Santo Domingo. Even though it went scheduled, charters were still a big part of its operations. Many of the charters operated in/out of San Juan were for Canadian tour operators that needed the air service in conjunction with cruises that departed San Juan every Saturday. The airline used primarily McDonnell Douglas DC-8 jets, but around 1980 brought DC-10 equipment into its fleet.These aircraft were all leased from International Air Leases in Miami, owned by George Batchelor.
Capitol Air also operated many charter flights for the United States military. One major trunk route in the mid-1970s connected Rhein-Main Air Base (Frankfurt), Germany to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina with a refueling stop at Bradley Air National Guard Base (co-located with Bradley International Airport) in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
Capitol Air declared bankruptcy in the mid-1980s after new owner George Bachelor dismantled the airline for his new venture, Arrow Air, another charter airline becoming a scheduled airline.
During the early 1980s, one of Capitol Air's DC-8 was hijacked and diverted to Cuba.