Air Florida

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Air Florida
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedSeptember 1971
Commenced operationsSeptember 28, 1972
Ceased operationsJuly 3, 1984
HubsMiami International Airport
Fleet size58
Parent companyAir Florida, Inc.
HeadquartersMiami-Dade County, Florida
Key peopleEli Timoner (President)
Ed Acker CEO

Air Florida was an American low-cost carrier that operated from 1971 to 1984. In 1975 it was headquartered in the Dadeland Towers in what is now Kendall, Florida in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida.[1][2]


Lockheed L-188 Electra of Air Florida landing at Miami International Airport in 1976

Air Florida was based at Miami International Airport. It was founded in September 1971[3] by a Miami, Florida, native, Eli Timoner, and was organized by company president Ted Griffin, a former marketing director of Eastern Airlines. It initiated revenue operations on September 28, 1972,[3] operating as an intrastate airline using two Boeing 707 jetliners purchased from Pan American World Airways and offering twice-daily service in Florida between Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO) and St.Petersburg (PIE) on a "triangle" routings of MIA-MCO-PIE-MIA and MIA-PIE-MCO-MIA with a one way introductory fare of $12.00.[4][3] The airline later acquired Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprop aircraft which replaced the Boeing 707s. Although Air Florida began operations as an intrastate air carrier flying wholly within the state of Florida, it subsequently began adding domestic and international destinations outside of the state. With this expansion, Air Florida's fleet grew to include Boeing 727-200, Boeing 737-100, Boeing 737-200, Douglas DC-8-62, Douglas DC-9-10, and McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 jetliners.[5]

Ed Acker, formerly CEO of Braniff International Airways, led an acquisition of Air Florida in 1975 and expanded the airline into the interstate market following the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.[6] In addition to Air Florida having a large presence in the Northeast-to-Florida market during the 1970s and 1980s, the airline also expanded internationally and served various points in the Caribbean and Central America, as well as a number of European destinations including Amsterdam, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Shannon and Zurich.[7] The European services were primarily flown with McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 aircraft, although British Island Airways provided connecting passenger service with their British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven jets for Air Florida on some intra-European route segments with an example being London-Amsterdam .[8] The airline also operated a leased Douglas DC-8-62 for use on transatlantic flights at one point. Air Florida was well known for its attractive flight attendants and, on international flights, four-star cuisine. In 1981, shortly before the crash of Air Florida Flight 90, Acker left Air Florida to become the Chairman, CEO and President of Pan American World Airways (Pan Am).

Air Florida tried to buy out Western Airlines during the 1980s in order to increase its presence in the West and also begin proposed flights to Mexico and western Canada. The negotiations with Western ended up with Air Florida owning 16 percent of the California-based company. Western was later acquired by and merged into Delta Air Lines.

The crash of Flight 90 on January 13, 1982, coupled with Air Florida's high financial leverage and reliance on foreign currency trading for profits, led the company to declare bankruptcy and cease operations on July 3, 1984, despite an effort by new head Donald Lloyd-Jones (an alumnus of American Airlines) to save the company.[6] When operations ceased, Air Florida had over 18 months of unprocessed credit card ticket purchases and dozens of flight crews idle at home because management had failed to renew leases on all DC-10-30 aircraft. Midway Airlines acquired most of the assets of Air Florida for $53 million while Air Florida was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[9]

Air Florida Commuter[edit]

Air Florida Commuter was not an airline, but a system of affiliated commuter and regional air carriers that fed traffic into Air Florida's hubs. In an arrangement commonly known as code-sharing, each airline painted their aircraft in Air Florida colors and their flights were listed in reservations systems as Air Florida flights. Air Miami became the first affiliate in 1980 and over a dozen other airlines became part of the system, including: Air Sunshine, Marco Island Airways, Florida Airlines, Key Air, Southern International, Skyway Airlines, North American Airlines, National Commuter Airlines, Gull Air, Pompano, Finair, Slocum, Atlantic Gulf, Skyway of Ocala and others. As Air Florida became financially strapped, the commuter system was dismantled in early 1984.[10]


Air Florida sponsored Southampton Football Club, an English Football League side, during the 1983-84 season, in which Southampton were league runners-up. The deal was cancelled after one season due to Air Florida's insolvency.[citation needed]

Mainline fleet[edit]

Boeing 737-200

When Air Florida ceased all operations, the airline was operating the following mainline jet aircraft:[11]

Aircraft Total
Boeing 737-100 6
Boeing 737-200 38
Douglas DC-8-62 (Super DC-8) 1
Douglas DC-9-10 8
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 5
Total 58

Air Florida also operated the following aircraft in its mainline fleet, but retired these types before the demise of the airline:[5]

Air Florida Commuter fleet[edit]

The commuter and regional affiliates of Air Florida operated the following prop and turboprop aircraft:[5]


City Feb. 1979[12] Dec. 1981[13] Sep. 1982[14] Jan. 1984[15]
Bermuda X
Boston X X X
Brussels X X
Burlington X X
Chicago O'Hare X X
Cincinnati X
Cleveland X
Columbus X
Daytona Beach X
Detroit X
Fort Lauderdale X X X X
Fort Myers X X
Freeport X X X
Gainesville X X X
George Town X X
Grand Turk X X
Guatemala City X X
Hyannis X
Indianapolis X
Jacksonville X X X X
Key West X X X
Kingston X X X
London Gatwick X X X
Marathon X
Marco Island X
Marsh Harbour X X X X
Miami X X X X
Montego Bay X X X
Nantucket X
Newark X
New Orleans X
New York JFK X
New York LaGuardia X X X
North Eleuthera X X X X
Ocala X X X
Orlando X X X X
Oslo X
Panama City, FL X
Pensacola X X X X
Philadelphia X X
Port-au-Prince X X X
Puerto Plata X X X
Rock Sound X X X X
Saint Croix X X
Saint Thomas X
San Jose (C.R.) X X X
San Pedro Sula X X X
San Salvador X X X
Santo Domingo X X
Sarasota X X
Shannon X X
Stockholm X
Stuart X
Tallahassee X X X
Tampa X X X X
Tegucigalpa X X X
Toledo X X
Treasure Cay X X X X
Washington National X X X X
West Palm Beach X X X X
White Plains X X X

Some of the above destinations in the U.S. and the Bahamas were served by commuter air carriers operating Air Florida Commuter service with prop and turboprop aircraft via respective code sharing agreements.

Air Florida also served Charleston, South Carolina; Chicago (Midway Airport), Illinois; Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW Airport), Texas; Düsseldorf, Germany; Frankfurt, Germany; Houston (Hobby Airport), Texas; Madrid, Spain; Providence, Rhode Island; Savannah, Georgia; and Zurich, Switzerland with mainline jet service at various times during its existence.[16]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ World Airline Directory. Flight International. March 20, 1975. "466.
  2. ^ "Kendall CDP, Florida[permanent dead link]." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on June 17, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c AIR FLEETS INTERNATIONAL: United States (1980) June 30, 2015, 14:12
  4. ^, Airlines, Air Florida
  5. ^ a b c, all Air Florida aircraft photos
  6. ^ a b Petzinger, Thomas (1996). Hard Landing: The Epic Contest For Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines into Chaos. Random House. ISBN 978-0-307-77449-1.
  7. ^; Air Florida route maps
  8. ^, Air Florida system timetables
  9. ^ AP (1985-08-15). "Midway Jets Sale". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  10. ^ Air Florida Commuter. (2010-12-07). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  11. ^ "Air Florida Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 2017-01-23.
  12. ^ QH020179intro. (1979-02-01). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  13. ^ QH120181intro. (1981-12-01). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  14. ^ QH090882intro. (1982-09-08). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  15. ^ QH011584intro. (1984-01-15). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  16. ^, Air Florida route maps
  17. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737 registration unknown Havana". Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  18. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737 registration unknown Havana". Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  19. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-200 registration unknown Havana". Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  20. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737 registration unknown Havana-José Martí International Airport (HAV)". Retrieved 21 January 2017.

External links[edit]