Overseas National Airways

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The original Overseas National Airways Inc (ONA) was an American airline, formed in June 1950 as a supplemental air carrier. It ceased operations on September 14, 1978.

The company's headquarters were on the property of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.[1]

A second related company, took the name in 1978, later renamed National Airlines before declaring bankruptcy in 1986.

History - First ONA[edit]

ONA Douglas DC-6A at Manchester Airport, England, in 1958
Douglas DC-8 of ONA at Zurich in 1975
ONA Douglas DC-9 freighter at the Miami cargo terminal in 1976

ONA (IATA: OV) was founded in June 1950 as a charter airline and carried both freight and passengers. It was based in Idlewild Airport (now New York JFK Airport) and had five Douglas DC-6 aircraft in the fleet. Its main function was to carry US military personnel to and from Europe from the east coast of the USA. ONA also had a dedicated Douglas DC-7F for freight operations.

For a brief period from 1964 to 1965, ONA went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize and flights resumed in October 1965, this time operating Douglas DC-8 aircraft. Operations expanded to include flights to the Caribbean, Europe and to India.

Beginning in 1968, ONA acquired a fleet of 11 secondhand Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprops which were used for freight operations. In the meantime, the DC-8s were servicing the trans-Atlantic routes. The next aircraft type to be put into operations were McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jetliners, which replaced the Electras and then in 1973 two McDonnell Douglas DC-10 widebody jetliners were acquired.

In 1978 when airline deregulation went into effect, the board of directors decided to liquidate the airline which, due to the value of the company's DC-10s, was successful. The board decided not to compete in the newly deregulated environment. ONA ceased operations in October 1978.[2]

History - Second ONA[edit]

The second airline to be named Overseas National Airways was created when officials of Overseas National Airways formed a FAR Part 129 leasing company known as United Air Carriers on July 21, 1977. When the Overseas National Airways folded in 1978, the company was renamed to Overseas National Airways and was certified in 1980 under FAR 121 as a cargo and passenger charter company.

In 1982 the company gained approval for scheduled service, leading to the company purchasing the name National Airlines from Pan American World Airways in anticipation of scheduled New York to Paris service. The scheduled service never materialized, although charter flights were flown on the route.

Due to financial problems the airline ceased operations in December 1985, filing for bankruptcy in May 1986.[3]


  • On 2 May 1970, ALM Flight 980 operated by ONA with a DC-9-30 named the "Caribbean Queen", en route from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to the tropical island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean. Several failed attempts to land in bad weather at St. Maarten followed by a decision to divert to St. Thomas forced the flight crew to intentionally ditch the aircraft after running out of fuel. The Caribbean Queen is still at the bottom of the sea. [1]
  • On 2 January 1976, an ONA DC-10 experienced an undershoot on the short runway in Istanbul. Despite some reports, fire on the #1 engine only occurred after the aircraft touched the ground and crash-landed and was not the cause of the crash. The aircraft was destroyed. All passengers survived.
  • On 13 September 1982, a DC-10-30 EC-DEG which was leased to Spantax, was destroyed by fire after a burst nose-wheel caused the captain to abort take-off in Málaga, Spain. 51 individuals were killed, with 352 surviving.


Douglas DC-8 fleet[edit]



  1. ^ Flight International. April 10, 1976. p. 947. "Head Office: Kennedy International Airport, Jamaica, New York 11430, USA."
  2. ^ Airlines Remembered by BI Hengi, Publisher Midland Publishing
  3. ^ Tom W Norwood (1996). "1981". Deregulation Knockouts Round One. Airways. p. 62. ISBN 0-9653993-0-3. 
  4. ^ ONA (Version 3) DC-8 Fleet Information

External links[edit]