By Patrick Mondout
Air Florida started out in 1972 as intrastate airline flying in and out
of Miami International Airport. The Deregulation
Act of 1978 opened up the skies to Air Florida and it expanded rapidly
under the leadership of former Braniff president
Edward C. Acker. To allow for this expansion, Boeing 737s
were purchase to augment the existing fleet of DC-9s.
Air Florida also attempted many takeovers during the first years of
deregulation, including Air California,
Emerald, Piedmont and Western. As Braniff
began breaking apart, it also bid for its South American routes.
By 1980, Air Florida was an international airline with routes to
Central America and the Caribbean. Defenders of deregulation pointed to
the success of Air Florida.
The next year, Air Florida phased out the DC-9s in favor of new 727s.
Ed Acker was also "phased out" when he left to take over Pan
Am, which had begun to abandon its Florida routes. Acker reversed this
trend and started a fare war with Air Florida. This was the beginning of
the end for Air Florida, which saw first Eli Timoner, then Donald
Lloyd-Jones, and then J.R.K. Tinkle take over as president of the
N52AF - an Air Florida
Boeing 737-2T4/Adv as seen in Miami in November
Image courtesy of AirNikon.
Find more of his photos at Airliners.net
By the 1982/1983 timeframe, quarterly loses were now the norm and an
of a 737 in Washington D.C. damaged Air Florida's reputation. Routes
were suspended, aircraft were sold or returned to the leasing companies,
and employees were furloughed.
The company was declared to be in default and the company declared
bankruptcy and suspended operations on July 3, 1984. Midway
Airlines bought the assets of Air Florida and began flying the planes
as "Midway Express" on October 15, 1984. Eventually the new
Midway Express was merged into Midway Airlines.
Slogans: "Now everyone can go." "Fastest growing
airline in America."
Known Fleet: Lockheed
L-188 Electras, Boeing 727s,
Douglas DC-9s, DC-10s,