Ozark Air Lines was an airline in the United States that operated from 1950 until 1986, when it was purchased by Trans World Airlines (TWA). In 2001, TWA was merged into American Airlines. A smaller regional airline that used the Ozark name (and whose operating certificate was purchased by Great Plains Airlines) operated in 2000–2001. From 1950 until 1986, Ozark's headquarters was located at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.[1]

Ozark Air Lines
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedSeptember 25, 1950 (1950-09-25)
Ceased operationsOctober 26, 1986 (1986-10-26)
(integrated into Trans World Airlines)
HubsSt. Louis Lambert International Airport
Fleet size50
  • Ozark Mainline cities: 57
  • Ozark Midwest cities: 21
Parent companyTrans World Corporation
HeadquartersSt. Louis County, Missouri, U.S.
Key people
  • Laddie Hamilton (president, 1950—1959)
  • Joseph A. Fitzgerald (president, 1959—1963)
  • Floyd Jones (acting resident, 1963—1964)
  • Thomas L. Grace (president, 1964—1971)
  • Edward J. Crane (president, 1971—1986)
  • Lester L. Cox (chairman of board, 1972—1986)

History edit

The dark green Ozark Air Lines logo
Another Ozark Air Lines logo

On September 1, 1943, Ozark Air Lines was founded to fly services from Springfield, Missouri,[2] and, in January 1945, it began flights between Springfield and St. Louis on Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwings, replaced by Cessna AT-17 Bobcats in the late 1940s. The required license from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) 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 September 26, 1950, using Douglas DC-3s from St. Louis to Chicago, Tulsa and Memphis.[2] In 1955, the airline had 13 DC-3s flying to 35 cities between Sioux City, Indianapolis, Wichita, and Nashville. Ozark's main hub was St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Like other Local Service airlines, it was subsidized; in 1962, its operating revenues of US$14 million (equivalent to US$135 million in 2022) included US$4.5 million (equivalent to US$44 million in 2022) of federal subsidy.[3]

In 1960, turboprop Fairchild F-27s were introduced; piston-engine Martin 4-0-4s were added to the fleet in 1964 and removed in 1967.

One of three co-founders, Arthur G. Heyne was an attorney in St. Louis, Missouri, and served as Secretary-Treasurer starting in 1950.

The three swallows on Ozark fins represented on-time flights, referring to the legend of the swallows that return to the Mission San Juan Capistrano, in California, each year on the 19th of March.

Jets edit

Revenue passenger traffic, in millions of passenger-miles (scheduled flights only)[4]
Year Pax-Miles
1951 8
1955 36
1960 99
1965 229
1970 653
1975 936
Fairchild-Hiller FH-227B at Chicago O'Hare Airport in 1975

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 1978–1979.

Ozark Douglas DC-9-31 at O'Hare in 1975

In September 1966, Ozark and Central Airlines announced plans to merge, subject to CAB approval; the new airline was to retain the Ozark name and would be one of the largest local service carriers in the U.S.[5] However, in November 1966, the two airlines announced that merger talks had ended by mutual consent due to financing difficulties.[6]

By 1967, the Martins and F-27s were replaced with Fairchild Hiller FH-227s, a stretched F-27; Ozark was all-turbine after the last DC-3 flight in October 1968. Ozark's introduced its first jets in July, 1966 with the Douglas DC-9-10s. The DC-9-10s were later augmented with McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s (DC-9-31/32) and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-40s. The airline also ordered two Boeing 727-200s but never took delivery. In late 1980, Ozark retired its last FH-227 prop aircraft and went all jet with an all DC-9 fleet. Several very small cities including Burlington, Fort Dodge, and Mason City in Iowa, Decatur, Marion, and Quincy in Illinois, and Cape Girardeau, Missouri, briefly saw DC-9 jet service before Ozark discontinued serving those cities in 1982. In 1984, larger McDonnell Douglas MD-80s were added.

Ozark Midwest edit

In 1985 Ozark began a code-share agreement with Air Midwest, a commuter airline operating 17-seat Fairchild Swearingen Metroliners. The operation was called Ozark Midwest and the Air Midwest aircraft were painted with green stripes, similar to Ozark but without the swallows. Ozark Midwest provided feeder service to Ozark from many smaller cities in the midwest that were not able to support large DC-9 jets including several cities that Ozark had previously discontinued.[7]

Merger with TWA edit

In the mid-1980s Ozark and TWA had a de facto duopoly at St. Louis Lambert 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.[8] On March 1, 1986, the two airlines announced plans to merge: TWA would buy Ozark for US$242 million in cash (equivalent to US$646 million in 2022).[9] Shareholders of both airlines approved the merger by late summer, and the United States Department of Transportation gave its approval on September 12, 1986.[10]

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. On December 1, 2001, TWA was merged into American Airlines.

Second Ozark Air Lines (2000–2001) edit

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,[11] from Columbia Regional Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Chicago Midway Airport, using two Fairchild Dornier 328JET aircraft. Later in 2000, service was added to Joplin Regional Airport in Joplin, Missouri, as a stop between Columbia and Dallas/Fort Worth. In early 2001, Ozark operated to the Taos Regional Airport serving Taos, New Mexico, from Dallas/Fort Worth on two days per week during the winter ski season.

A year later, the company ceased operations and sold its assets to the now-bankrupt Great Plains Airlines, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[12]

Sales and marketing edit

Reservations edit

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.)

Advertising edit

In the late 1960s, comedian George Carlin appeared in Ozark advertising.[13]

Destinations in 1986 edit

Note: Regional destinations were served by Ozark Midwest

Fleet history edit

Ozark Air Lines operated the following aircraft:[14][15]

Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Boeing 727-200 2 1979 1979 Never entered service and sold to Pan Am[16]
Convair CV-240 7 1962 1965
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 3 1972 1974 Used to serve Chicago Meigs Field
Douglas C-47 Skytrain 29 1950 1971
Fairchild F-27 7 1959 1967
Fairchild FH-227B 21 1966 1981
Martin 4-0-4 15 1964 1968
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-10 10 1968 1986
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 37
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-40 3 1982
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 4 1984

Accidents and incidents edit

  • On March 27, 1968, Ozark Air Lines Flight 965, a Douglas DC-9-15, collided in midair with a Cessna 150F while both aircraft were on approach to runway 17 at Lambert–St. Louis Municipal Airport (Lambert Field), St. Louis, Missouri. The Cessna was demolished by the collision and ground impact, and both of its occupants were killed. The DC-9 sustained light damage and was able to land safely; none of its 44 passengers or five crewmembers were injured.[17]
  • On December 27, 1968, Ozark Air Lines Flight 982 crashed shortly after takeoff from Sioux Gateway Airport. 35 of the flight's 62 passengers and 4 crew members were taken to area hospitals, mostly for treatment of minor cuts and scratches. It was the "first crash of any significance for the airline." The US$3 million DC-9 aircraft (equivalent to US$25 million in 2022) was a total loss.[18]
  • 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.[19]
  • 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 and two flight attendants suffered minor injuries. No passengers were injured.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "World Airline Directory". Flight International. 1985-03-30. p. 105. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2022-06-14.
  2. ^ a b Endres, Günter G. (1982). World Airline Fleets 1983. Feltham: The Aviation Data Centre. p. 327. ISBN 978-0-9461-4102-9. OCLC 9203525.
  3. ^ Moody's Transportation Manual. 1964. ISSN 0027-089X.
  4. ^ Handbook of Airline Statistics. Civil Aeronautics Board.
  5. ^ Mort, John (1966-09-21). "Central Airlines Seeking Merger With Ozark". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Vol. 86, no. 232 (Morning ed.). Washington, D.C. p. 10-C. ISSN 0889-0013. Retrieved 2022-06-14 – via Newspapers.com. 
  6. ^ "Ozark, Central Calls Halt to Merger Plans". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Vol. 86, no. 283 (Evening ed.). Washington, D.C. Associated Press. 1966-11-10. p. 5-D. ISSN 0889-0013. Retrieved 2022-06-14 – via Newspapers.com. 
  7. ^ Ozark timetables from 1985 and 1986
  8. ^ "Airline Competition: Fare and Service Changes at St. Louis Since the TWA–Ozark Merger" (PDF). Government Accountability Office. 1988-09-21. Archived from the original on 2022-07-27. Retrieved 2022-06-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "Ozark, TWA Sign Pact". Kenosha News. Vol. 92, no. 111. St. Louis. United Press International. 1986-03-02. p. A3. ISSN 0749-7067. Retrieved 2022-06-14 – via Newspapers.com. 
  10. ^ "14 NMB No. 63: Case Nos. R-5684, R-5685, and File No. CR-5908". Determinations of the National Mediation Board. Vol. 13–14. National Mediation Board. 1987-04-10. p. 218. Retrieved 2022-06-14 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Chase, Nan (2001-01-01). "Home Grown". Air & Space/Smithsonian. ISSN 0886-2257. OCLC 1054386888. Archived from the original on 2022-06-14. Retrieved 2022-06-14.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  12. ^ "Flying Tigers to offer more airport services". Columbia Daily Tribune. 2005-10-06. Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  13. ^ George Carlin (actor) (2008-04-22). Living St. Louis – Ozark Air Lines (Television production). St. Louis: KETC-TV. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 2009-01-07 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ "Ozark Air Lines Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 2023-04-24.
  15. ^ "Ozark Air Lines". Aerobernie.bplaced.net. Retrieved 2023-04-12.
  16. ^ "Ozark & the Boeing 727". Airliners.net. 2018-05-16.
  17. ^ "Midair collision, Ozark Air Lines, Inc., DC-9, N970Z And Interstate Airmotive, Inc., Cessna 150F, N8669G, St. Louis, Missouri, March 27, 1968" (PDF). fss.aero. 1969-06-30. Archived from the original on 2022-05-31. Retrieved 2022-06-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  18. ^ "Loss of roll control, Ozark Air Lines, Inc., Douglas DC-9-15, N974Z, Sioux City Airport, Sioux City, Iowa, December 27, 1968". fss.aero. Archived from the original on 2022-01-23. Retrieved 2022-06-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  19. ^ "AirDisaster.Com » Accident Database » Accident Synopsis » 07231973". Archived from the original on 2009-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)

External links edit