Despite record industry losses, widespread bankruptcies, huge costs of entry, and rabid competition, it still seems that everyone wants to start an airline. Joseph Lorenzo thinks he's figured out how to make money in a business in which almost no one else can
The summer of 1993 was another endless summer of burning dollar bills. No matter what they tried, the nation's airlines seemed unable to escape their tough times. They had lost an average of $9.6 million a day for the previous three years, a record of futility exceeded in recent times only by the savings-and-loan industry. In financial terms, the industry as a whole was technically bankrupt.
Continental Airlines announced that it would lay off 2,500 workers, ground 30 planes, and end service to nine cities. Northwest Airlines prepared a bankruptcy filing while it fought for concessions from its unions. American Airlines pulled back from many of its California routes. All the while a national commission appointed by President Clinton was puzzling over the question of how to save the domestic airline industry.
Meanwhile, nobody seemed to notice the most startling development of all.
A new entrepreneurial carrier, Reno Air, completed its first year of flight operations on July 1, 1993, reporting $72 million in revenues and, more significantly, something that only one other scheduled carrier, Southwest Airlines, was able to claim -- a profit.
Few experts had given the airline much of a chance when Joseph A. Lorenzo, its founder, put its first plane in the air, in mid-1992 -- not after an entire generation of new carriers had started amid great fanfare and then failed during the 1980s.
But to Lorenzo (no relation to Frank Lorenzo, former chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines), the travails of the industry were in fact its greatest attraction. The more intractable the problems for the nation's biggest carriers were, the greater his new airline's potential was. Lorenzo had probed the industry's soft spots and devised a strategy that would turn those problems to Reno Air's advantage.* * *
"Out of business" -- that unhappy notation is scribbled next to the names of no fewer than 172 of the airlines that started during the first great wave of entrepreneurship that greeted the 1978 deregulation of the airline industry. Gone are People Express, Midway, and Muse Air. Gone are Air Florida, Air Atlanta, and Air One. Among the ambitious start-ups of the last decade, only America West remains, flying the past two years under the watchful eye of a bankruptcy-court judge.
Many of the start-ups were gone by the time the financial carnage spread to the larger carriers. From 1990 to 1992 alone, the U.S. airline industry lost $10.5 billion, more than wiping out all the profits earned by the industry since the Wright brothers flew the first plane at Kitty Hawk. Eastern, Pan Am, and Braniff disappeared; TWA emerged from bankruptcy court once, Continental twice. The industry's long-term performance has not been much better: in only one year in the past 25 has the industry earned profit margins as high as 4% to 5%, which are average for U.S. industry as a whole.
Despite that record of overwhelming failure for airlines large and small, scores of entrepreneurs continued with plans to start new carriers. All one needed to start an airline in the age of deregulation was a plane, a pilot, and a certificate from the federal government -- and an investor with selective memory loss concerning the industry's recent disaster with start-ups. From January 1991 through the end of 1993, the Department of Transportation authorized 84 new airlines and was reviewing applications for 32 more. A number of the airlines that have received certificates to fly, however, have not been able to raise enough capital.
By June 1992, a month before the first Reno Air jet took to the air, Joseph Lorenzo had accomplished what no other airline entrepreneur of the 1990s had done: he had raised $6 million in an initial public offering for his new airline based in Reno, Nev.
Lorenzo had been waiting for such an opportunity for some time. In 1983 he left Continental Airlines, where he was senior vice-president of marketing, and started an airline consulting business. Even then he was thinking about starting a new carrier. But Lorenzo remained on the sidelines as many others with similar ideas took to the air. By 1990, when most of the first generation of start-ups had already passed from the scene, he was finally ready to make his move.
Lorenzo did enjoy one major advantage. The industry's big three -- American, United, and Delta -- carry 57% of domestic air traffic, but their cost structure makes it increasingly difficult for them to do so profitably. Their costs are high for two reasons. First, they are full-service airlines. The meals, the movies, the frequent-flier programs, the huge investments in computer systems, ground equipment, and maintenance bases -- all represent enormous operating costs.
Second, the major carriers had operated for four decades under a system in which the federal government regulated fares and routes, building a rate of return into the fare structure based on the industry's cost of flying. That gave individual companies little incentive to hold down costs. Wage rates ballooned, union work rules proliferated, and capital investment in planes and ground equipment skyrocketed. Those tremendous costs stayed embedded in the system when Congress freed the airlines from fare and route regulation, 16 years ago. "The airlines did a lot of things that, if you were operating from scratch today, you wouldn't do," Lorenzo says. "So I had it in the back of my mind that the best thing to do would be to start an airline from scratch."
Lorenzo understood the overriding lesson that emerged from the failures of the '80s. Many of the new carriers went down after competing directly against larger carriers whose superior resources won out. Others, such as America West and People Express, ran into trouble when they expanded beyond an initially successful, well-defined niche. The lesson: define a niche in which you can be profitable, and stick to it.
There was, by then, a sterling model for just such a strategy. Despite the industry's troubles, Southwest Airlines has been profitable every year since 1971. Southwest has prospered on low operating costs, low fares, and no frills. It offers no meals, no drinks, no frequent-flier miles, no first-class seats, no elbow room, no advance boarding passes.
It flies passengers city to city nonstop instead of routing them through a hub where they would have to change planes. Its routes are short, up to 500 miles in length, with flying times of 60 to 90 minutes. Only pairs of cities with sufficient passengers to support frequent service, typically six to eight flights a day, are candidates for Southwest's expansion. Southwest services its planes and gets them airborne in just 15 or 20 minutes, compared with the hour that its competitors need at crowded hubs, where planes must await connecting passengers. As a result, Southwest's planes are in the air, producing revenues, more hours each day. In 80 of its 100 biggest markets, Southwest has grabbed a 50% or greater share of the passengers.
By the early '90s it became possible once again to start an airline around the principle of low operating costs. "It was a recession," says Lorenzo. "The other carriers were all in the tank. Equipment was available; people were available." Market rates for labor were half or less than half of the union wages paid by the major carriers. More than 700 jets were in mothballs, sending leasing costs down by a third or more from where they'd been a few years earlier.
Throughout the country entrepreneurs heard the call. Among the most notable, a former pilot for now-defunct Eastern started working in Newark on a low-fare airline called Kiwi International, after the flightless New Zealand bird. Two wealthy business owners in Houston began putting together a luxury-service airline called UltrAir.
And from his ranch in Colorado, Joseph Lorenzo saw it was time to make his move. He knew he faced a series of tricky decisions -- where to locate the airline and what type of service to offer, for example -- that would determine the success or failure of the venture.* * *
Decision #1: Figure out the best location.
Choosing a home base is one of the most fundamental of all strategic decisions for an airline -- much more so than for most other businesses. And it was with this choice that Lorenzo parted company most dramatically with some of the other start-ups of the early '90s.
He had two major objectives. First, he wanted to find a location that would shelter his new airline from the industry monsters. Low fares and low costs, he feared, would not be big enough advantages if he were to challenge a large carrier directly. A bigger competitor might match his lower fares even if it meant losing money on the routes. And the bigger carrier might throw enough advertising dollars and frequent-flier miles at the market to deny Lorenzo's airline the passengers it needed to survive.
His second objective was to anchor the new carrier in a midsize city that had little air service relative to its potential needs. And the fares for travel to and from that city had to be high enough so that he could slash existing prices and stimulate demand in the marketplace.
Tucson was the city that initially attracted him. "We saw it as a very underserved, overpriced market," Lorenzo says. But he could not attract the money he needed to get started there.
Lorenzo had raised $350,000 in seed money from a small group of investors that included Anthony Silverman, president of Paradise Valley Securities Inc., a small investment-banking company in Phoenix. "While we were waiting to get the funding for Tucson," Lorenzo recalls, "I happened to look at Reno, and I came to Silverman and said, 'If you liked Tucson, you're going to love Reno.' The void was even greater, and I thought the risk was lower and the potential higher."
The Reno area is a year-round tourist attraction, and it is one of the country's leading gaming centers. Less than an hour away is Lake Tahoe, a beautiful mountain lake and a major ski area.
Lorenzo liked the city of Reno even more once he had done his homework. Despite its considerable assets, Reno had suffered deteriorating air service for 10 years. During the '80s the major airlines increased their service to Las Vegas while they cut flights and raised fares to Reno. As a result, Reno's air-passenger traffic had declined from 1979 to 1990, while Las Vegas's had doubled.
When Lorenzo analyzed the number of hotel rooms in the two cities and what had happened to passenger traffic, he concluded that Reno had tremendous latent demand for air service.
"I concluded that Reno was underserved and that traffic was about half of what it should have been based on the number of hotel rooms in the city. What had happened in the interim was that Reno had had to rely on drive traffic, people coming in on buses and by car, because the air service was so poor." With low fares between Reno and the largest cities on the West Coast, Lorenzo figured he could take those people from their cars and buses and put them on his planes.
His strategy was essentially to stay off the radar screens of the big carriers, to get a foothold where competition was thin. In retrospect, that may prove to be a wise decision compared with the strategy followed by another prominent start-up, Kiwi. Robert Iverson, cofounder and CEO of Kiwi, chose Newark as his home market. Newark is also a major hub of Continental Airlines, which dominates that market with 52% of the passenger traffic. United, American, and USAir control another 32%.
Iverson figured Kiwi could do well in Newark by attracting a relatively small market share. But competing at a major airport against the big, entrenched carriers is tough. On such a crowded airfield Iverson has had trouble even getting noticed.* * *
Decision #2: Put together a top management team.
Although he had been the marketing chief at Continental, Lorenzo had never run an airline. So he hired Jeffrey Erickson in January 1991 and at the end of the year turned over to him the reins as CEO. Erickson had been president and chief operating officer at Midway Airlines. Although Midway was in its final death throes -- it filed for bankruptcy in late March, a few months after Erickson came aboard Reno Air -- Lorenzo felt that Erickson was untarnished by the carrier's problems. Lorenzo remained as chief strategist, a director, and the largest stockholder.
Midway's bankruptcy filing stirred Lorenzo and Erickson to action. What ensued was the development of a kind of "Midway connection," a strategy for building not just a low-cost airline but a cohesive one as well. They selectively brought into the fold some of Midway's best assets, including personnel and equipment. Erickson hired Robert Reding, whom he had known while Reding was vice-president of operations at Midway, for the same job at Reno Air. Reding in turn hired an experienced Midway pilot, Dennis Mitchell, to be Reno's chief pilot, a job that entails hiring and managing the pilot corps. Shortly after Midway's bankruptcy filing, says Lorenzo, "we went to the liquidation and bought about $750,000 worth of things for about $75,000. We got office equipment, computers."
That was only the start. Aircraft came inexpensively as well, owing to a glut of jets on the secondary market. Lorenzo and Erickson chose the MD-80, a midsize jet seating 140 people, whose leasing price had fallen by about a third during the previous few years.
The most significant savings, though, came on labor. Although pilots aplenty were looking for work, Reno Air went after -- no surprise -- those from Midway. They had already flown the MD-80, which meant that Reno could cut way back on training expenses.
Reno receives 300 to 400 applications a month from unemployed pilots, of whom only about 15 are hired. Full captains receive $50,000 to $60,000 a year, compared with $100,000 to $200,000 at the major airlines. Considering Reno pilots fly more hours for lower pay, chief pilot Mitchell estimates that his pilots are about two and a half times more productive than their counterparts are, and savings on labor costs extend throughout the company. Flight attendants receive $13 an hour, and baggage handlers, $6.50, compared with salaries that are about twice as high at the major carriers.* * *
Decision #3: What, if any, services to offer?
After choosing a home base and securing his cost advantage, Lorenzo faced one of the most complicated of all decisions. What kind of service should he provide? Should he mimic Southwest's no-frills operation? Build a full-service operation? Offer luxury service?
The latter was easy to rule out. The luxury market was too small. The number of first-class seats on the nation's airlines had declined steeply over the years, and new airlines that had tried that strategy in the past -- MGM Grand Air, Air One, and Regent Air -- had all failed.
Nonetheless, two entrepreneurs established a luxury airline to fly between Houston and Newark. Barney Kogen, who had once owned a large travel agency, Lifeco Travel Services, was confident that Houston business travelers would support a deluxe service. He and his partner, Gordon Cain, a local businessman, offered luxury service for the same price as a Continental full-fare ticket on the same route. But few passengers materialized, and UltrAir's scheduled service was pulled last summer, almost at the same time Reno Air was reporting a profit for its first year. By November UltrAir was back with a new strategy, flying from New York City to destinations in Florida at cut-rate fares.
Knowing that luxury service was a bad bet, Lorenzo looked to Southwest for inspiration, although the service he eventually provided was much different. "We came very close to doing a Southwest operation," he says. "But there was another factor that kept nagging at me. Southwest treats passengers like they're homogeneous. In fact, they are not."
Lorenzo thought that even on short flights certain service amenities were important to business passengers. Many, for example, stay at their offices working as long as they can and arrive at the airport with minutes to spare. Because there are no advance seat assignments available on Southwest, people who arrive at the gate shortly before the flight often are squeezed into middle seats, where it is more difficult to work. "To get a decent seat," says Lorenzo, "they have to cut their business meetings short and get to the airport 45 minutes or an hour ahead of time. Otherwise, God knows where they're going to wind up." He adds, "We looked at all of that and said, 'Is that the way to go, with a cattle-car operation?' We felt no."
Lorenzo thought he could attract more business travelers by looking more like American Airlines -- with meals, first-class service, and other amenities -- than like Southwest. With low first-class fares, he counted on enticing businesspeople to fly up and down the West Coast, with a change of planes in Reno.
Lorenzo also debated the issue of whether to provide meals. Although the subject of airline food has kept many a comedian in business, it does represent a significant cost: food accounted for about 5% of the operating expenses of American Airlines last year. But Lorenzo decided to add some food, anyway: potato chips, pretzels, and cookies in coach, and a sandwich and wine in first class, to make Reno Air more attractive to business travelers. "Businesspeople on the West Coast make up 40% to 45% of the total market," he says. "Why do I as a start-up want to write off 40% to 45% of my potential market?" Food service also would give him an advantage in any future wing-to-wing competition with Southwest.
Lorenzo's costs were otherwise so low across the board that he could add those modest services and more -- automated ticketing through travel agents and advance seat selection, for example -- without materially affecting his bottom line. Reno Air's cost of flying, at 7.9¢ per seat mile, is only about three-fifths of a cent higher than Southwest's and materially lower than that of the major carriers, which ranges from 8.5¢ to 12¢ a seat mile. And Lorenzo felt that the services he was adding would attract customers and that the additional revenues would more than offset the costs.* * *
Decision #4: Stay flexible. Be opportunistic.
American Airlines, losing about $50 million a year at its hub in San Jose, decided last year to cut its losses by leasing some of its gates to another carrier. "I heard rumors that American Airlines was talking to America West," says Lorenzo. "Even though we were sitting there with a niche in Reno, we were concerned." Lorenzo flew to American's headquarters in Fort Worth, where he made a pitch for the gates.
He had a powerful selling point: Reno Air offered a higher level of service than America West did. American Airlines was in essence planning to hand off some of its West Coast customers to the substitute carrier, but it still wanted those passengers to transfer to American flights to the East Coast. So American preferred an airline that could offer a level of service that its own customers would find attractive.
"I convinced American that we were a better fit for them," Lorenzo says. "We had the same airplanes, we had the kind of service they wanted. We had the low costs. They saw we offered first class and coach, we operated on time, we had newer planes." Last May 28 American and Reno Air signed a deal in which Reno has an option to lease as many as seven of American's gates at San Jose.* * *
Decision #5: Build a marketing plan to distinguish the company from other low-cost competitors.
Surveys show that passengers choose airlines based largely on price and the frequency of flights. But for Lorenzo, that was not enough. Shortly after Reno Air's first plane rolled down the runway, he and Erickson started an in-house tour operation, called QQuick Escapes. Until then, tour packages to Reno offered by independent operators were expensive and were mostly for weekend travel. Lorenzo wanted QQuick Escapes to put passengers on his planes during the slow midweek period. For many vacationers the deal seems irresistible: a midweek package from Seattle runs $168 for round-trip airfare, two nights in a hotel, and airport transfers. QQuick Escapes fills about 10% of the airline's seats in and out of Reno.
Tour packages are nothing new to airlines, of course, but Lorenzo's selection of Reno as the carrier's home base, where there is little competition, made it that much easier. That is not the case in Newark, where Kiwi has found it difficult to put together tour packages to its Florida destinations. The major airlines have already wrapped up the tourist market to Orlando, a major Kiwi destination. Delta, for example, is the official carrier of Disney World, which enables it to offer special rates and tie-ins with Disney World hotels and attractions.
Lorenzo also made another wise marketing move. As part of the arrangement to lease gates from American Airlines in San Jose, he made a deal that enables Reno Air passengers to accumulate mileage in AAdvantage, American's frequent-flier program. Such programs have been the only truly successful device to increase brand loyalty in the airline industry.
Lorenzo felt that a frequent-flier program for the West Coast flights would give Reno Air a competitive advantage against Southwest Airlines and other low-cost competitors that fly some of those same routes. Reno pays American for participation in the program, which adds another cost, but Lorenzo figures he will more than get the investment back in increased market share.
"San Jose is primarily a business market," says Lorenzo. "There, the frequent-flier program is very important, because all other things being equal, businesspeople will choose the carrier that has the best program. So we came to the conclusion that the frequent-flier program was absolutely necessary in San Jose and San Francisco and other markets where we'd expand."* * *
Decision #6: Admit when you've made a mistake.
New airlines are fragile creatures. "A mistake on only one variable in this business," says Julius Maldutis, an airline analyst at Salomon Brothers in New York City, "can lead to catastrophic results." Lorenzo and Erickson almost made that one mistake. They announced in December 1992 that Reno Air would open a new route from Reno to Minneapolis as part of a broader strategy to connect Reno to the major metropolitan areas of the Midwest. But Minneapolis is the home of Northwest Airlines, whose reaction in defense of its turf was immediate and severe. First Northwest announced that it would fly the same Reno-to-Minneapolis route. Then it announced it would fly three additional West Coast routes in and out of Reno, in effect shadowing the new airline's route structure.
Although the government no longer regulated routes and fares, CEO Erickson decided to seek the help of the Clinton administration anyway. He called Federico PeÃ‘a, the U.S. secretary of transportation. "We felt," says Erickson, "that they were trying to put us out of business," in violation of federal antitrust laws. PeÃ‘a called in executives from Northwest, who quickly backed down from their threat to fly the three additional routes.
But Northwest did not back down on its promise to compete on the Reno-Minneapolis route. Lorenzo probably should have recognized an angry hornet when he saw one, but he decided to go ahead and open the new route anyway. When Reno Air initiated Reno-to-Minneapolis service, last April 1, it drove the lowest round-trip nonstop fare down to $190, from $440 previously for connecting service. But Northwest matched the fare, even though it was probably losing money at that level. Then Reno dropped its fare to $100. "When we took the fares down, traffic didn't increase," says Lorenzo. "It actually declined slightly. We were never able to expand the market, and I still don't know why."
Reno Air flew only half the passengers it needed to break even. In two months of flying, the new carrier lost about $1 million. It was either give up the route or go broke; Reno Air could not sustain the losses any longer. That was an important lesson: though Northwest was on the verge of bankruptcy at the time, it still had both the resources and the resolve to outlast Reno Air in a fare war. By quitting the route and cutting its losses when it did, Reno Air survived the kind of serious miscalculation that had grounded other carriers in the past.* * *
Despite the costly mistake, Reno had $531,000 in operating profits on $85.2 million in revenues for the first nine months of the calendar year, ending September 30, 1993 -- a stellar performance for a new carrier operating during a period of financial distress for the industry. By the end of the year it had 1,200 employees and 17 jets.
Reno Air does face growing competition up and down the West Coast from Southwest and other low-cost carriers, even though Lorenzo has positioned the airline well. But nothing about the airline business is very stable. Even with a good start and what seems to be a smart plan, the life of any new carrier is tenuous at best. Fare wars can send prices tumbling below costs, international events can cause fuel prices to skyrocket, a major carrier can reposition its planes to defend its turf -- and any of those things can occur overnight. United Airlines, for example, may spin off low-cost regional carriers if a partial employee buyout gives the carrier enough flexibility with wages and work rules. For a new airline, life at 30,000 feet is full of unexpected air pockets.
Those problems are not of great concern to Lorenzo, however. He is working on plans to start yet another low-cost airline, this time somewhere on the East Coast. For Lorenzo, the entrepreneurial opportunity for Reno Air and his second, as yet unnamed, airline is simply irresistible. "We've learned," he says, "that low fares stimulate the hell out of passenger traffic."* * *
Stephen D. Solomon is an associate professor of journalism at New York University and was formerly a senior editor at Inc.* * *
MORE UPSTARTS TO WATCH
Kiwi International Airlines
Founded: September 1992
Home base: Newark, N.J.
Routes: Between Newark and three Florida cities; also between Newark and Chicago Midway, San Juan, and Atlanta. Connecting Chicago to Atlanta, Tampa, and Orlando; connecting Atlanta and Orlando to San Juan
Pricing: Unrestricted fares that are half or less than half those offered by major carriers
Service: Offers meals, all-coach seating, and advance reservations and ticketing
Strategy: Gain a small but profitable share of the Newark market, one of the largest in the United States* * *
Founded: January 1993
Home base: Kansas City, Mo.
Routes: Seasonal service (March through December) connecting Branson, Mo., to and from Kansas City, St. Louis, Nashville, and Dallas/Fort Worth. Will start service to and from Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Pricing: At or below market. Has different charges for 14-day-advance sales, 7-day-advance sales, day-of-purchase sales, and sales to wholesale tour operators
Service: Offers snacks, all-coach seating, and advance reservations and ticketing
Strategy: Have exclusive service contracts for Branson and Gatlinburg airports. Expand service to connect Gatlinburg to Charlotte, Nashville, and Atlanta* * *
Founded: In 1992 as a charter operator. Failed at upscale scheduled service, begun in January 1993 and terminated in July 1993. Has been operating at current fares and schedules since November 1993
Home base: New York City (flight operations) and Houston (corporate)
Routes: Connecting New York City's JFK to Miami, West Palm Beach, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale
Pricing: Budget fares with one refundable, nonrestricted price for all seats
Service: Offers advance reservations and all-coach seating
Strategy: Get a slice of the market from JFK (no airline's hub) to other cities within and near Florida* * *
Founded: Charter service since 1988. Began scheduled routes in May 1993
Home base: Atlanta
Routes: Connecting Atlanta, Miami, Chicago's Midway, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Las Vegas; from Miami to St. Thomas and St. Croix
Pricing: Budget rates at two prices: 7-day advance and unrestricted. All fares refundable for a fee
Service: Offers snacks and drinks, advance reservations, all-coach seating, and assigned seating
Strategy: Cater to the business traveler with regular routing to high-yield major cities -- Phaedra Hise
ALL THOSE START-UPS: BUT WILL THEY SUCCEED?
Richard Branson, chairman, Virgin Atlantic Airways, based in London and New York City
The only danger to these small airlines is that big carriers will use their monopolistic power to put them out of business. Competition is fine if big carriers reduce their fares across the board and not just on a cherry-picking basis, trying to drive small carriers out. One hopes that under the Clinton administration that's going to be more difficult, because the administration is willing to use its power to protect small airlines. I think it's a positive, auspicious time for new carriers to be getting up and running.
Tobey Jones, director of industry relations at travel agency Rosenbluth International, based in Philadelphia
Corporate America has a long-term relationship with the majors. And some of the small airlines can't offer the critical mass of daily flights to be convenient for the business traveler. If the new carrier has an insufficient schedule frequency, well, business has to go on.
The smaller carriers are offering equal or better service in their niche markets, and I think it's great, because they try harder. They're going above and beyond to attract and keep corporate business.
Harold Shenton, vice-president of consulting at aviation consultant Avmark, based in Arlington, Va.
Start-ups will come and go. I can't see any of the existing start-ups lasting indefinitely. I see them as an important force in the market because they keep fares down, they keep the big airlines on their toes, they're constantly testing the market, they're testing the issue of airline loyalty, and they're offering some new products to the traveling public. But as the economy recovers and the industry expands, the big airlines get stronger and become more aggressive toward small airlines. Right now United, American, and Delta are hiding under their shells. -- Phaedra Hise
AIRLINES FILING BANKRUPTCY, 1979-1992
Airline Filing date Type reorganized?
1. New York Airways 5/18/79 Chapter 11 No
2. Aeroamerica 11/19/79 Chapter 11 No
3. Florida Airlines 1/24/80 Chapter 11 No
4. Indiana Airways 3/3/80 Chapter 11 No
5. Air Bahia 12/15/80 Chapter 11 No
6. Tejas Airlines 12/31/80 Chapter 11 No
7. Mountain West 3/6/81 Chapter 11 No
8. LANICA 3/16/81 Chapter 11 No
9. Coral Air 7/13/81 Chapter 11 No
10. Pacific Coast 9/11/81 Chapter 11 No
11. Swift Aire Line 9/18/81 Chapter 11 No
12. Golden Gate 10/9/81 Chapter 11 No
13. Pinehurst Airlines 1/26/82 Chapter 11 No
14. Silver State Airlines 3/3/82 Chapter 11 No
15. Air Pennsylvania 3/26/82 Chapter 11 No
16. Air South 4/2/82 Chapter 11 No
17. Cochise Airlines 4/16/82 Chapter 11 No
18. Braniff International 5/13/82 Chapter 11 No
19. Astec Air East 7/8/82 Chapter 11 No
20. Will's Air 8/19/82 Chapter 11 No
21. Aero SunInternational 10/5/82 Chapter 11 No
22. Aero Virgin Islands 10/19/82 Chapter 11 No
23. Altair 11/9/82 Chapter 11 No
24. North American 12/9/82 Chapter 11 No
25. Inland Empire 2/1/83 Chapter 11 No
26. State Airlines 2/14/83 Chapter 11 No
27. Golden West 4/22/83 Chapter 11 No
28. Continental Air Lines 9/24/83 Chapter 11 Yes
29. National Florida 12/2/83 Chapter 7 No
30. Air Vermont 1/30/84 Chapter 11 No
31. Pacific Express 2/2/84 Chapter 11 No
32. Dolphin 2/8/84 Chapter 11 No
33. Combs Airways 4/9/84 Chapter 11 No
34. New York Helicopter 5/1/84 Chapter 11 No
35. Air Florida 7/3/84 Chapter 11 No
36. Excellair 7/17/84 Chapter 7 No
37. American International 7/19/84 Chapter 11 No
38. Emerald 8/21/84 Chapter 11 No
39. Hammonds Commuter 8/29/84 Chapter 11 No
40. Air North 9/4/84 Chapter 11 No
41. Wright Air Lines 9/27/84 Chapter 11 No
42. Oceanaire Lines 10/2/84 Chapter 7 No
43. Atlantic Gulf 10/10/84 Chapter 11 No
44. Connectaire 10/10/84 Chapter 7 No
45. Air One 10/26/84 Chapter 11 No
46. Capitol Air 11/23/84 Chapter 11 No
47. Wien Air Alaska 11/28/84 Chapter 11 No
48. Northeastern Intl. 1/8/85 Chapter 11 No
49. Pompano Airways 1/22/85 Chapter 11 No
50. Far West Airlines 2/22/85 Chapter 11 No
51. American Central 3/8/85 Chapter 11 No
52. Provincetown Boston 3/13/85 Chapter 11 No
53. Sun West Airlines 3/19/85 Chapter 11 No
54. Wise Airlines 5/1/85 Chapter 11 No
55. Cascade Airways 8/19/85 Chapter 11 No
56. Wheeler Airlines 10/7/85 Chapter 11 No
57. Pride Air 12/2/85 Chapter 11 No
58. Southern Express 1/21/86 Chapter 11 No
59. Imperial Airlines 1/30/86 Chapter 11 No Successfully
Airline Filing date Type reorganized?
60. Arrow Airways 2/11/86 Chapter 11 No
61. Sea Airmotive 4/9/86 Chapter 11 No
62. SFO Helicopter 4/18/86 Chapter 11 No
63. Trans Air 8/19/86 Chapter 11 No
64. Frontier Airlines 8/28/86 Chapter 11 No
65. Chicago Airlines 2/19/87 Chapter 11 No
66. McClain Airlines 2/23/87 Chapter 11 No
67. Rio Airways 2/27/87 Chapter 11 No
68. Air Puerto Rico 3/6/87 Chapter 11 No
69. Gull Air 3/10/87 Chapter 11 No
70. Royal West Airlines 3/12/87 Chapter 11 No
71. Air Atlanta 4/3/87 Chapter 11 No
72. Air South Inc. 6/17/87 Chapter 11 No
73. Royale Airlines 9/9/87 Chapter 11 No
74. Sun Coast Airlines 1/5/88 Chapter 11 No
75. Air New Orleans 1/14/88 Chapter 11 No
76. Air Virginia 1/15/88 Chapter 11 No
77. Mid Pacific Airlines 1/19/88 Chapter 11 No
78. Exec Express 3/4/88 Chapter 11 No
79. Caribbean Express 5/6/88 Chapter 11 No
80. Pocono Airlines Inc. 5/25/88 Chapter 11 Yes
81. Virgin Island Seaplane 6/20/88 Chapter 11 No
82. Princeton Air Link Corp. 8/11/88 Chapter 7 No
83. Qwest Air 9/14/88 Chapter 11 No
84. Southern Jersey Airways 9/27/88 Chapter 11 No
85. Eastern Air Lines 3/9/89 Chapter 11 No
86. Big Sky Airlines 3/14/89 Chapter 11 No
87. Air Kentucky 7/19/89 Chapter 7 No
88. Braniff Inc. 9/28/89 Chapter 11 No
89. Presidential 10/26/89 Chapter 11 No
90. Resort Commuter 11/17/89 Chapter 11 No
91. Pocono Airlines Inc. 1/23/90 Chapter 11 No
92. SMB Stage Lines 5/10/90 Chapter 11 No
93. CC Air 7/5/90 Chapter 11 No
94. Continental Airlines 12/3/90 Chapter 11 No
95. Britt Airways 12/3/90 Chapter 11 No
96. Rocky Mountain Airways 12/3/90 Chapter 11 No
97. Pan Am World Airways 1/8/91 Chapter 11 No
98. Pan Am Express 1/8/91 Chapter 11 No
99. L'Express 1/9/91 Chapter 11 No
100. Eastern Air Lines 1/18/91 Chapter 7 No
101. Bar Harbor Airlines 1/20/91 Chapter 11 No
102. Northcoast Executive 1/29/91 Chapter 7 No
103. Midway Airlines 3/25/91 Chapter 11 No
104. Grand Airways 3/26/91 Chapter 11 No
105. Metro Airlines 4/1/91 Chapter 11 No
106. Jet Express 5/20/91 Chapter 11 No
107. Metro Airlines Northeast 5/30/91 Chapter 11 No
108. America West 6/27/91 Chapter 11 No
109. Mohawk Airlines 8/12/91 Chapter 11 No
110. Midway Airlines 11/7/91 Chapter 7 No
111. Flagship Express 12/31/91 Chapter 11 No
112. Virgin Island Seaplane 1/22/92 Chapter 11 No
113. Trans World Airlines 1/31/92 Chapter 11 No
114. L'Express 2/28/92 Chapter 7 No
115. Markair 6/8/92 Chapter 11 No
116. Hermans/Markair Exp. 6/8/92 Chapter 11 No
117. States West Airlines Inc. 12/15/92 Chapter 11 No