Ozark Air Lines
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|Founded||September 25, 1950|
|Ceased operations||October 26, 1986 (integrated into Trans World Airlines)|
|Hubs||Lambert–St. Louis International Airport|
|Destinations||Mainline Cities: 57
Midwest Cities: 21
|Company slogan||Go-getters go Ozark (1960s)
We make it easy for you (1970s)
Ozark flies your way (1980s)
|Parent company||Ozark Holdings, Inc.|
|Headquarters||St. Louis County, Missouri|
|Key people||Laddie Hamilton
Joseph A. Fitzgerald
(Acting President 1963–1964)
Thomas L. Grace
Edward J. Crane
Lester L. Cox
(Chairman of Board 1972–1986)
Ozark Air Lines operated in the United States from 1950 until 1986 when it was purchased by Trans World Airlines. A smaller airline with the same name (which was also known as Great Plains Airlines) operated in 2000–2001. From 1950 until 1986 Ozark's headquarters was at Lambert–St. Louis International Airport in St. Louis County, Missouri.
On 1 September 1943 Ozark Air Lines was founded to fly services from Springfield, Missouri, and in January 1945 it began flights between Springfield and St. Louis on Beech 17 Staggerwings, replaced by Cessna AT-17 Bobcat in the late 1940s. The required license from the Civil Aeronautics Board was not forthcoming and operations had to stop.
In July 1950 Ozark was granted a certificate to operate Parks Air Transport routes not previously activated. Services were started on 26 September 1950 using Douglas DC-3s from St. Louis to Chicago, Tulsa and Memphis. In 1955 the airline had 13 DC-3s flying to 35 cities between Sioux City, Indianapolis, Wichita and Nashville. Ozark's main hub was Lambert–St. Louis International Airport. Like other Local Service airlines it was subsidized; in 1962 its operating "revenues" of $14.0 million included $4.5 million of federal subsidy.
|Revenue passenger traffic, in millions of passenger-miles (scheduled flights only)|
In 1961 Ozark's network reached from Minneapolis to Nashville and from Kansas City to Indianapolis and Louisville. Denver was added in 1966 and in 1969 the network sprouted eastward: Ozark was awarded nonstops from Champaign and Peoria to Washington Dulles, continuing to New York LaGuardia. Atlanta was added in 1978 and four Florida cities in winter 1978-79.
By 1967 the Martins and F-27s were replaced with Fairchild Hiller FH-227s, a stretched F-27; the last DC-3 flight was October 1968. Ozark's first jets were Douglas DC-9-10s in July 1966. The DC-9-10s were augmented with DC-9-31/32 and DC-9-40s and Ozark went all-DC-9 in October 1978; in 1984 MD-82s were added. The three swallows on Ozark fins represented on-time flights, referring to the legend of the swallows that return to the Mission of San Juan Capistrano, in California, each year on the 19th of March.
Merger with TWA
In the mid-1980s Ozark and TWA had a de facto duopoly at Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, a hub for both. Ozark accounted for 26.3 percent of boardings at STL in 1985, while TWA accounted for 56.6 percent. On March 1, 1986 the two airlines announced plans to merge: TWA would buy Ozark for $242 million in cash. Shareholders of both airlines approved the merger by late summer, and the U.S. Department of Transportation gave its approval on September 12, 1986.
Ozark ceased to exist as an independent company on October 27, 1986. The Ozark DC-9s were gradually painted with a modified paint scheme with "TWA" in the tail. Over the next couple of years the fifty Ozark airplanes were repainted in the TWA livery.
Second Ozark Air Lines (2000–2001)
In 1998 rights to the airline's name were purchased by William E. Stricker of Columbia, Missouri. The reformed Ozark Air Lines received its operating certificate on February 11, 2000, and began service 10 days later, from Columbia Regional Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Chicago Midway Airport, using two Fairchild Dornier 328JET aircraft.
Sales and marketing
From the 1960s through the late 1980s, Ozark Air Lines' reservations department used a special toll-free WX telephone prefix in New Jersey which could be reached only in certain areas of the state by dialing 0 and asking the New Jersey Bell operator to connect to Ozark's WX number: WX-8300. The number could not be dialed directly by the customer and was only available to certain telephone exchanges where WX was available. (Direct-dial toll-free service made WX numbers obsolete, and they have been largely phased out.)
Destinations in 1986
- Atlanta (Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport)
- Baltimore (Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport)
- Cedar Rapids/Iowa City (The Eastern Iowa Airport)
- Champaign/Urbana (University of Illinois Willard Airport)
- Charlotte (Charlotte/Douglas International Airport)
- Chicago (Chicago O'Hare International Airport)
- Cleveland (Cleveland Hopkins International Airport)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport)
- Denver (Stapleton International Airport)
- Des Moines (Des Moines International Airport)
- Detroit (Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport)
- Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport)
- Fort Myers (Southwest Florida International Airport)
- Houston (William P. Hobby Airport)
- Indianapolis (Indianapolis International Airport)
- Jacksonville (Jacksonville International Airport)
- Kansas City (Kansas City International Airport)
- Las Vegas (McCarran International Airport)
- Lincoln (Lincoln Airport)
- Louisville (Louisville International Airport)
- Madison (Dane County Regional Airport)
- Miami (Miami International Airport)
- Milwaukee (General Mitchell International Airport)
- Minneapolis/St. Paul (Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport)
- Nashville (Nashville International Airport)
- New Orleans (Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport)
- New York City (LaGuardia Airport)
- Norfolk (Norfolk International Airport)
- Omaha (Eppley Airfield)
- Oklahoma City (Will Rogers World Airport)
- Orlando (Orlando International Airport)
- Peoria (General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport)
- Philadelphia (Philadelphia International Airport)
- Quad Cities (Quad City International Airport)
- Raleigh/Durham (Raleigh–Durham International Airport)
- Rochester, Minnesota (Rochester International Airport)
- San Antonio (San Antonio International Airport)
- San Diego (San Diego International Airport)
- Sarasota/Bradenton (Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport)
- Sioux City (Sioux Gateway Airport)
- Sioux Falls (Sioux Falls Regional Airport)
- Springfield, Illinois (Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport)
- St. Louis (Lambert–St. Louis International Airport) Hub
- Tampa (Tampa International Airport)
- Tulsa (Tulsa International Airport)
- West Palm Beach (Palm Beach International Airport)
- Washington, D.C. (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport)
- Waterloo (Waterloo Regional Airport)
- Note: Regional destinations were served by Ozark Midwest
- 3 – de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter (the Twin Otter aircraft were used to serve Chicago Meigs Field)
- 20 – Fairchild Hiller FH-227
- 8 – Douglas DC-9-10
- 11 – Douglas DC-9-31/32
1986 – Ozark was an all-jet airline by this time:
March 27, 1968: At about 6 p.m., an Ozark DC-9 and an Interstate Airmotive Cessna 150F collided in flight approximately 1.5 miles north of Lambert Field. Both aircraft were in the landing pattern for Runway 17 when the accident occurred. The Cessna was demolished by the collision and ground impact, and both occupants were fatally injured. The DC-9 sustained light damage and was able to effect a safe landing. None of its 44 passengers or five crewmembers were injured.
Dec. 27, 1968: An Ozark DC-9-10 crashed upon takeoff in Sioux City, Iowa, injuring three. Although there was excessive ice buildup on the airplane, the pilot nevertheless attempted takeoff, and went off the end of the runway before becoming airborne. The right side of the cockpit collided with a tree that also removed the right wing.
On July 23, 1973, Ozark Air Lines Flight 809, a Fairchild Hiller FH-227B, crashed while on approach to Lambert–St. Louis International Airport. Of the 45 passengers and crew on board, only seven survived. Microburst-induced windshear and the captain's decision to land in a thunderstorm were cited as the cause.
On December 20, 1983, Ozark Air Lines Flight 650, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31, struck a snow plow while landing at Sioux Falls Regional Airport. The driver of the snow plow was killed but no passenger injuries were suffered.
- "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 105.
- Endres, Gunter G (1982). World Airline Fleets 1983. Feltham: The Aviation Data Centre. p. 327. ISBN 0946141029.
- Moody's Transportation Manual 1964
- Handbook of Airline Statistics (biannual CAB publication)
- "RCED-88-217BR Airline Competition: Fare and Service Changes at St. Louis Since the TWA–Ozark Merger". United States General Accounting Office. 1988-09-21. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- "Ozark and T.W.A. Sign Pact". UPI, via The New York Times. 1986-03-02. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- "Case Nos. R-5684, R-5685, and File No. CR-5908". National Mediation Board, U.S. Department of Labor. 1987-04-10. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- Chase, Nan (2001-01-01). "Home Grown: Once swallowed whole by TWA, local Missouri favorite Ozark Air Lines flies again". Air and Space Magazine. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- "Flying Tigers to offer more airport services". Columbia (Missouri) Tribune. 2005-10-06. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- George Carlin (actor) (2008-04-22). Living St. Louis – Ozark Air Lines (Television production). St. Louis, Missouri, USA: KETC-TV. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- "AirDisaster.Com » Accident Database » Accident Synopsis » 07231973".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ozark Air Lines.|
- Site including history and gathering place for former employees
-  has several Ozark timetables from 1952–61, showing where they flew, how often, how long it took and how much it cost. They also have route maps for some later years.
-  has an Ozark timetable from 1985 with published schedules and route map.