Air International 1999-05
??? - Miami Miscellany /Commercial aviation/
Air Transat has just unveiled its new colour scheme on one of its Lockheed L-1011 TriStars, C-FTNC, seen here taxiing at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The star on the fin reflects its link with French operator STAR (Societe de Transport Aerien Regional) Airlines, note also the airline’s Internet address in the broken red cheat line - a sign of things to come? Air Transat is leasing a TriStar to its French partner STAR, making it only the second French airline to use the L-1011, after Air France.
This Boeing 727-100C (N946UP) is one of five convertible -25Cs operated by Eastern in the late 1960s and early 1970s on passenger services during the day and cargo service at night. Thirty years later, it is once again splitting its time between passenger and cargo service. United Parcel Service chose the 727-100 for passenger charter as it has the lowest utilisation rate in its fleet. Five 727s were modified to accept the interior quick-change system and like all of its other 727-100s, the aircraft has been re-engined with Rolls-Royce Tay 651 turbofans and fitted with an electronic flight information system flight deck.
Based at Opa-Locka Airport, Trans-Air-Link, formed in 1979, currently operates a Douglas DC-7C and three Douglas DC-6s, including DC-6A N870TA seen here with the cowlings removed from its four Pratt & Whitney R-2800s. Note the 'Sky Truck' titling on the nose, which is the carrier’s ICAO call sign. This particular aircraft was originally allocated for Slick Airways but instead joined the Belgian Air Force on June 20, 1958, being sold to SF Air as F-BYCH in 1977. In June 1980 it joined Aero B as YV-293C before being bought by Trans-Air-Link on August 21, 1984. All of the aircraft are used for freight carriage, primarily to and from the Caribbean island chain.
Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles are the three leading airports for weekly scheduled non-stop domestic passenger departures. These are the domestic ‘hubs’ for the three largest US airlines including American Airlines in Dallas; one of whose Airbus A300-600Rs, N14053, is seen about to touch down at Miami International Airport in January 1995. Over 45% of passenger traffic at MIA is carried by American Airlines. The other two major airlines feeding domestic ‘hubs’ are Delta Air Lines in Atlanta and United Airlines in Los Angeles.
Of 13 Grumman Abatrosses converted to G-111 standard for commercial operations with Chalk’s International Airlines, Miami, one (N42MY) is still in active service in Florida. Based at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, this converted HU-16B belongs to the Aviation Division of Mirabella Yachts, a company that owns and operates a number of exclusive yachts in the Bahamas and Caribbean. Modifications to civilianise the Albatross to G-111 standard include the fitment of titanium wing spars and outward opening access doors. The G-111 was acquired to carry guests to and from its boats, however, to maximise its usage, it is also available for charter work. Two other amphibians operated by Mirabella Yachts are Albatross N28J and HU-16C N43846 (137908). The latter is resplendent in US Navy markings.
Pan American Airways began seaplane operations in January 1928, its first passenger flight being from Key West, Florida, to Havana, Cuba. This Pan Am legacy lives on today, under the auspices of Pan Am Air Bridge, which operates five Grumman/Frakes Turbo Mallard amphibians, including N2969, seen here on the slipway at Watson Island. Pan Am Air Bridge is based at Watson Island, Miami, immediately opposite Miami’s busy cruise ship port, having begun life as Chalk's Air Service, which was bom in 1917. Apart from a brief interlude during World War One, Chalk’s saw over 40 years of continuous operation until being purchased in 1970 by Resorts International. The first ‘turbinised’ Mallard entered service in November 1979 and in January 1996, the airline was purchased by three individuals, one of whom, Charles Cobb, retains the proprietary rights to the name ’Pan Am’ and its logo. Today, the Turbo Mallards provide scheduled services to Fort Lauderdale and some of the Bahamian Islands.
Miami International Airport is the leading airport for weekly scheduled non-stop passenger flights from the US to Central America, with over 200 departures per week. Continental Airlines doubled its service to Belize City and San Salvador via Houston Intercontinental. McDonnell Douglas MD-82 N16806, burning rubber as it touches down on runway 90R, is one of 53 of the type currently in service with Continental Airlines.