Emerald Air (United States)

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Emerald Air
IATA ICAO Callsign
Commenced operations 1978
Ceased operations 1991
Fleet size 3 Douglas DC-9
Fairchild Hiller FH-227
Destinations Columbus, Ohio; Houston, Texas; see Independent operations below
Headquarters Austin, Texas, United States

Emerald Air (IATA: OD) was an airline headquartered in Austin, Texas, United States. Founded by William Ford and Richard Martel[1] It was formerly known as Emerald Valley Airlines. Emerald Airlines' brief history is marked by arrangements to feed connecting flights into both passenger airlines (such as Continental Airlines and Pan Am) and cargo airlines (such as Purolator Courier) much larger route systems. The airline also independently operated scheduled passenger flights within the state of Texas during the mid-1980s with Douglas DC-9-10 jet and Fairchild Hiller FH-227 turboprop aircraft[2] and briefly served Wichita, Kansas and Omaha, Nebraska as well.[3]

Operations for Purlolator Courier[edit]

Emerald began operating scheduled cargo flights, which fed Purolator Courier's Columbus, Ohio hub, in October 1978.

Operations for Pan American World Airways (Pan Am)[edit]

In June 1981, the airline began scheduled Douglas DC-9-10 jet service as well as Fairchild Hiller FH-227 turboprop service to feed Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) flights at Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) via a code sharing agreement. Emerald was promoted in print advertising by the carriers as 'Emerald the Pan Am Express.' and operated flights on behalf of Pan Am between Houston and Austin, Corpus Christi, McAllen and San Antonio in Texas.[4]

Operations for Continental Airlines[edit]

For a brief time in the mid-1980s, Emerald Air operated a connecting jet shuttle service on behalf of Continental Airlines between Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Houston Hobby Airport (HOU), which was called the 'Houston Proud Express.' Unlike the Pan Am operations in which Pan Am markings and aircraft livery were not used, Emerald painted its aircraft to mimic those of Continental Airlines' then present orange colors and scheme. This "cross-town" service in Houston was operated with Douglas DC-9-10 jet aircraft via a code sharing agreement.

Independent operations[edit]

Emerald Air also independently operated scheduled passenger flights primarily within the state of Texas and also briefly to Kansas and Nebraska during the mid-1980s. According to the Emerald Air system timetables dated March 15, 1984 and September 15, 1984, the following cities were served:[2]

According to its March 15, 1984 timetable, Emerald Air was flying nonstop service on the following routes: Austin-Houston, Corpus Christi-Dallas/Ft. Worth, Corpus Christi-Houston, Corpus Christi-McAllen, Dallas/Ft. Worth-McAllen, Houston-McAllen, Houston-San Antonio and McAllen-San Antonio. These flights were operated with Douglas DC-9-10 jet and Fairchild Hiller FH-227 turboprop aircraft. Emerald was an intrastate airline in Texas at this time.

In September 1984, Emerald Air then extended its scheduled passenger service north from Dallas/Ft. Worth with a DC-9 jet flight nonstop to Wichita, KS (ICT) with continuing same plane service to Omaha, NE (OMA).[5]

Bankruptcy and acquisition by Bia Cor Holdings Inc.[edit]

By 1985, Emerald ceased operations and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[1] In 1991, BIA-COR Holdings Inc., acquired Emerald Air's FAA and DOT operating certificate, along with Emerald's three McDonnell Douglas DC-9-14 aircraft; and renamed the carrier Braniff International Airlines, Inc., before promptly going out of business. Parts of Emerald thus became the third and final resurrection of the Braniff name.[6]


Emerald Air operated a small fleet of the following jet and turboprop aircraft types:[7]


  1. ^ a b "1985 | 0937 | Flight Archive". Flightglobal.com. Retrieved 2015-06-04. 
  2. ^ a b "index". Departedflights.com. Retrieved 2015-06-04. 
  3. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Sept. 15, 1984 Emerald Air system timetable
  4. ^ http://departedflights.com, Feb. 1, 1983 Pan Am domestic route map including Emerald Air/Pan Am Express routes
  5. ^ "index". Departedflights.com. Retrieved 2015-06-04. 
  6. ^ Mcdowell, Edwin (1992-04-23). "Braniff Aims at the Infrequent Flier". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2015-06-04. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]