|Commenced operations||July 1, 1991|
|Ceased operations||July 2, 1992|
|Fleet size||See Jet Fleet below|
|Destinations||See Destinations below|
|Parent company||BNAir, Inc.|
|Headquarters||Dallas, Texas, United States|
Braniff International Airlines, Inc. (IATA: BE) was an airline formed in 1991. It was headquartered in the Dallas, Texas, area and owned by BNAir, Inc., a subsidiary of BIA-COR Holdings Inc., a Philadelphia investment group, formed by Paine Weber Group, and subsequent airline holding company.
Formation from Braniff, Inc. Assets
In 1990, Jeffrey R. Chodorow, Arthur Cohen, and Scot Spencer formed BNAir, a vehicle specifically used to purchase the assets of Braniff, Inc., including the name and trademark, from three bankruptcy auctions. With these assets, the group formed Braniff International Airlines, Inc., with eight leased aircraft, including five Boeing 727-200s and three Douglas DC-9s. This fledging "Braniff III" began operations in 1991, but remained in operation for a year. This airline was formed from the assets of Braniff Inc., which itself was formed from the assets of Braniff International Airways. and the operating certificate and three McDonnell Douglas DC 9 aircraft of bankrupt Austin, Texas, based Emerald Air. BNAir, Inc., was merged with Emerald Airlines, Inc., and together formed Braniff International Airlines, Inc. In July, 1991, Braniff International commenced scheduled airline operations.
The airline did not possess a Department of Transportation Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and was receiving scrutiny from DOT about the proposed Braniff. During January, 1990, the DOT made it clear to BNAir that DOT did not believe that Braniff's management team, headed by Scot Spencer, was capable of conducting airline operations. Their belief was based on the conduct of Spencer while employed with BIA's successor Braniff, Inc., and his lengthy criminal history.
The DOT refused to certify Braniff to begin flying, even with the Emerald Operating Certificate, unless the principals of the new airline signed sworn affidavits stating that Scot Spencer would not be involved in any capacity at the carrier. Spencer, Chodorow, and Cohen submitted the affidavits stating that Spencer would have no connection or hold any position with Braniff International or Emerald Airlines in any capacity, directly or indirectly. Spencer personally promised not to make any decisions for the airline or direct any of its employees, including consulting or advising.
BNAir, Inc., was merged with Emerald Airlines, Inc., and together formed Braniff International Airlines, Inc. In July, 1991, Braniff International commenced scheduled airline operations.
Cessation of Operations
On Thursday, July 2, 1992, Braniff International Airlines, Inc., filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations without warning two days before the busy July 4 holiday weekend. Braniff became the fourth airline in 18 months to cease operations and joined Eastern, Pan American World Airways, and Midway Airlines in bankruptcy. Over 4000 Braniff customers were left stranded and limited help was offered by other airlines. Braniff encouraged passengers with confirmed tickets to contact their credit card companies for refunds. An announcement was made the following Tuesday, July 7, 1992, that the beleaguered carrier might refund tickets that were paid for with cash or checks.
Continental and United Airlines waived their standard 14-day advance purchase requirement for Braniff ticket holders. America West offered to fly Braniff's customers on a standby basis for 75 USD. American and Delta Airlines did not offer assistance and announced that they would not take Braniff tickets. Braniff management cited intense competition and fare wars initiated by Northwest Airlines and American Airlines as key reasons for the unannounced shutdown. Buying tickets on Braniff required calling the airline or visiting a ticket counter as the carrier was not part of a large airline reservation system. Because of this tickets could not be purchased at travel agencies. Three other airlines were reorganizing under bankruptcy protection when Braniff ceased operations and included America West, Continental and Trans World Airlines. A nationwide recession exacerbated Braniff's as well as other carrier's financial problems.
Principals Convicted of Fraud
On July 19, 1994, Jeffrey Chodorow and Scot Spencer were indicted for bankruptcy fraud. Spencer and Chocorow were convicted of fraud in 1996, for stealing $14 million of the company's assets interfering with the Department of Transportation's airline certification process. In 1994, Chodorow was convicted of defrauding the U.S. Department of Transportation and obstructing a pending proceeding of the DOT. The US government dropped additional charges that Chodorow committed bankruptcy fraud and fraudulently concealed assets from creditors in return for a guilty plea to the DOT charges. Chodorow was sent to jail for one year. During this time, Jack Polsenberg and Neil Faggen kept the restaurants open and ran them until Chodorow was released from jail.
Scot Spencer was convicted of bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud in 1996. Spencer was sentenced on May 23, 1996, to a 51-month prison term followed by three years of supervised release.
The following destination information is from the Braniff International Airlines, Inc., June 1, 1992 through June 24, 1992 system timetable:
- Dallas/Ft Worth
- Hollywood/Ft Lauderdale
- Islip/Long Island/MacArthur
- Minneapolis/St Paul
- New York/Newark
- New York/JFK
- St Thomas, Virgin Islands
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Tampa/St Petersburg/Clearwater
- West Palm Beach
- Douglas DC-9-10
- Boeing 727-200
- Stieghorst, Tom. "NEW BRANIFF IS GETTING OFF TO ROUGH START." Sun-Sentinel. August 18, 1991. Business 1D. Retrieved on August 17, 2009.
- 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.
- Norwood, Tom W. Braniff Airways. Deregulation Knockouts: Round One, p.89. Retrieved on January 23, 2011.
- "UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Scot SPENCER, Defendant-Appellant.". FindLaw. October 30, 1997. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
- Woman, Phoenix. "Remember Braniff". Fire Dodge Lake. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- Folk, Mark (July 7, 1992). "Braniff May Refund Tickets". USA Today.
- FindLaw for Legal Professionals - Case Law, Federal and State Resources, Forms, and Code