12/19/1980: New York Air Commences Operations

12/19/1980: New York Air Commences Operations

DALLAS – Today in Aviation, New York Air (NY), commenced operations in 1980. The first flight took place from the airline’s La Guardia (LGA) hub to Washington National (DCA).

The airline was launched by aviation entrepreneur Frank Lorenzo and his Texas Air Corporation. Lorenzo wanted to focus on the new carrier in the Northeastern United States, the business epicenter of the country. At the time, Eastern Airlines and its “Shuttle” held the monopoly on routes to and from New York. NY was created to challenge this monopoly.

New York Air became the second carrier to be established, after Chicago’s Midway Airlines, following US airline deregulation. NY’s launch was initially met with controversy. Indeed, the first flight only carried five passengers. The opposition also came from the Airline Pilots Association and the Airline Scheduling Committee, plus an Air Traffic Control strike in its first year.

In October 1984, 24 Boeing 737-300s were ordered. Eight in total were delivered, starting in 1985. Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, SwitzerlandCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Taking a Bite of the Big Apple

Despite these struggles, two years after the carrier’s launch, it had doubled in size and was managing to turn a profit. A second smaller hub was inaugurated at New York Newark (EWR). Another hub followed this at Boston Logan (BOS) with flights to Baltimore (BWI) and Orlando (MCO). Sadly this operation proved unprofitable and was closed by the end of 1982.

A new CEO, Michael E. Levine, was brought in to turn around the carrier’s ailing fortunes. NY was repositioned as a full-service airline to target business passengers and better compete with the legacy carriers.

However, financial woes continued. Texas Air Corporation decided to merge all of its airline interests under the Continental Airlines (CO) brand. On February 1, 1987, New York Air made its final flight.

New York Air also operated 12 MD-82s. Photo: Jon Proctor.

Featured Image: Two of the carriers DC-9s pictured at LGA. Photo: Jon Proctor.

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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