Category Archives: Ozark Airlines

The Timetable Chronicles: Ozark Air Lines (Part 2)

Guest Editor David Keller 

Guest Editor David Keller

The Timetable Chronicles: The World of Airline Timetable Collecting

Ozark Air Lines (Part 2)

The latter half of the 1960’s were eventful for the local airlines in general, and Ozark Airlines (St. Louis) was no exception.  Starting with Mohawk’s introduction of the BAC 1-11 in 1965, the local carriers began the process of adding pure-jets to their fleets.  Ozark went a step further, ordering DC-9’s and FH-227B’s to replace its entire fleet of F-27’s, Martin 404’s and the workhorse DC-3’s.  The July 15, 1966 timetable (below) is the first to show DC-9’s in service, with a single aircraft being put to work on a 14 flight schedule that served 7 stations, as indicated by the promotional ad in the timetable.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on the photo for the full view and details.

Ozark Airlines: 

The December 1, 1966 timetable (below) shows the addition of the Fairchild FH-227B to Ozark’s fleet.

Service was inaugurated to 11 destinations with this timetable, and 4 additional stations were added 2 weeks later.  The type would eventually number 21 aircraft, one of which was lost in a crash at St. Louis in 1973.  The final revenue service (which I was fortunately able to ride) came on October 25, 1980 as Flight 848 from St. Louis to Chicago with a stop at Peoria.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on the photo for the details and the full view.

Another big happening in the local airline world in the late 60’s was the growing shift towards cross-subsidies.  The government had been subsidizing the local carriers to serve points that were generally unprofitable, while profitable routes went to the trunk carriers.  Now that the local carriers were acquiring jets, they had a chance to be competitive against the trunk lines.  Cross-subsidies involved awarding some of those potentially profitable services to the locals, with the idea that those profits could reduce the amount of the subsidies paid for the other operations.  In some cases, authority was given to operate non-stop flights in major markets where stops had previously been required.  Such was the case when Ozark was awarded non-stop authority between St. Louis and Chicago as promoted on the timetable dated October 27, 1968 (below).  By November 15th, the carrier was offering 7 nonstops in each direction.

In other instances, “bypass” routes were awarded from some of the larger local stations to major cities outside of the carrier’s normal area of operation.  Ozark would receive authority to Denver, Dallas, New York and Washington from places like Sioux City, Peoria and Champaign/Urbana.  The route map from the timetable dated October 1, 1970 (below) shows the new services as well as the acquisition of Chicago – Des Moines nonstop authority.

A number of local service airlines tried operating smaller aircraft that were generally considered to be commuter types.  Ozark attempted such a “commuter” operation beginning on March 12, 1972 (below) with Twin Otter service between Springfield, IL and Meigs Field in Chicago.  Flights were operated every 90 minutes on weekdays only.  This became a competition with the much smaller Air Illinois which operated a very similar schedule of flights on the route.  After less than a year, Ozark would drop the service, and Air Illinois would continue to operate the route for a number of years, utilizing an HS 748 for much of that time.

In late 1973 the airline world suffered the shock created by the Arab Oil Embargo.  Fuel quotas were established, and the airlines had to learn how to get by with less.  The impact on the local carriers was not as drastic as the trunk carriers, which removed many of their new but fuel hungry 747’s from service, as well as entire fleets of non-fan Convair 880’s, 707/720’s and DC-8’s.  The local airlines had no widebodies or first-generation aircraft, so their fleets were relatively efficient.

October of 1978 ushered in the event that has done more to shape the airline industry than any other, the Airline Deregulation Act.  This piece of legislation removed many of the barriers faced by airlines applying for authority to serve new routes (which had often been a slow and arduous process), as well as for entities wanting to create new airlines.  The initial result was the award of unused route authority to other airlines willing to provide service.  Florida was a popular choice for new service, and Ozark quickly began service to 4 destinations with their December 15, 1978 timetable (below).

Please click on the map to expand.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. The last OZ color scheme, introduced in 1979.

A number of local carriers were looking at larger equipment to use on the new routes, and a several opted for 727’s (used -100 series aircraft or factory-new 200-series).  For its part, Ozark placed an order for 2 new 727-200’s slated for delivery in late 1979.  Unfortunately, the carrier suffered several work stoppages prior to the arrival of the new aircraft, and determined that they were no longer required given the resulting reductions in traffic.  Although at least one was painted in full Ozark colors, the type never entered service and both were sent off to Pan Am.

Copyright Photo: Robert Woodling – Bruce Drum Collection.

New services in the early days of Deregulation were frequently from stations other than the carrier’s main operations base, which was tied in to the new destinations by the continuation of the flight routings when practical.  As the ability to enter and leave routes was liberalized over the ensuing years, most of the services to new destinations realigned to provide non-stop flights from one of the airline’s chosen hubs, again leaving the outlying stations with only direct or connecting service.  The route map of the October 1, 1985 timetable (below) shows the almost-complete consolidation of routes through the airline’s hub in St. Louis.

This timetable also shows Ozark embracing the “express” concept of code-sharing with commuter airlines to provide service to smaller destinations (which had frequently been dropped by the larger carrier).  In Ozark’s case, a partnership was created with Air Midwest to form Ozark Midwest, which started with service from St. Louis to 15 destinations.

The other impact of Deregulation was the ensuing rash of airline mergers, which in some cases involved a trunk carrier buying up their principal competition.  Such was the case in 1986 when TWA purchased Ozark, ending a proud legacy spanning over 36 years.  The timetable dated August 25, 1986 was the final issue published prior to the merger.

The final “Ozark” timetables were actually issued by TWA following the merger.  At least 3 different Ozark timetables were printed, and I am told that it was due to TWA using the Ozark operating certificate for the DC-9’s until it could be transferred.  (TWA already had MD-80’s, so there was no problem with the larger type.)  Apparently, TWA felt that they needed an “Ozark” timetable if they were operating certain flights as such, and distributed a small number of copies to each station with instructions to hand them out only if asked.  (It makes no sense to me that a timetable was required to support an operating certificate, but that’s the story I was given!)

The April 5, 1987 timetable shows “Ozark” flights to Toledo, a station never actually served by the airline.  Eventually, the certificate was transferred, and Ozark Air Lines disappeared into TWA.

Ozark Airlines: 

Comments can made directly to this WAN blog or you can contact David directly at:

David Keller

email: dkeller@airlinetimetables.com

website: http://airlinetimetables.com

blog: http://airlinetimetableblog.blogspot.com

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The Timetable Chronicles: Ozark Air Lines (Part 1)

Today I again have the privilege to introduce a new Guest Editor to the World Airline News. My friend David Keller has joined the team joining Dave NicholsJoel Chusid and Jay Selman.

David’s columns will look at the colorful histories of the world airlines. Today, the first article features Ozark Air Lines, the historic airline that was based in “David’s backyard”. We will bring each airline “back to life again” with period photos, timetables, route maps and logos.

David grew up (and he has basically lived his entire life) in the shadow of Lambert/St. Louis International Airport.  David received his first airline timetable “by accident” almost 40 years ago.  David was calling the airlines to request photos, but Allegheny sent him a timetable instead.  David couldn’t get enough of it, and started calling every airline with a toll-free number to request timetables!

David now has a collection that numbers over 10,000 unique timetables, plus smaller collections of postcards, playing cards, ticket jackets and various other airline-related collectibles.

David also writes articles for the quarterly Captain’s Log publication of the World Airline Historical Society.

David is also the owner of Airlinetimetables.com, an unique on-line source for historic and current timetables.

Guest Editor David Keller

Guest Editor David Keller

The Timetable Chronicles: The World of Airline Timetable Collecting

Ozark Air Lines (Part 1)

At the conclusion of World War II, the U.S. government proceeded with a plan to create a second level of air carriers, which would generally become known as “feeder” or “local” service airlines.  This was designed primarily to further develop the air transportation system by bringing service to additional communities across the country.  Part of the equation for was government subsidies to promote this service, as most of these additional destinations could not be served profitably without such assistance.  One of those carriers was Ozark Airlines, which was the last local service carrier to gain a certificate in the years after the war.  (Several commuter airlines were elevated to local service status in the 1970’s.)

Ozark began life as an intrastate carrier in 1945, operating flights from a base in Springfield, Missouri to Kansas City, St. Louis, and several smaller stations.  The timetable dated September 15, 1945 (below) shows what appears to be a single aircraft operating 10 daily segments within Missouri.

Please click on the timetable to expand.

Ozark’s ultimate goal was to be awarded an operating certificate to provide local airline service to communities in the Midwest.  However, that award actually went to Parks Air Lines, which had been set up by Parks College in the eastern suburbs of St. Louis.  Parks issued several timetables during the summer of 1950, including an August 1, 1950 timetable (below).  This issue depicts the carrier’s DC-3 (dubbed “LocaLiners”) and a “Grain Belt Route” slogan.

Please click on the timetable to expand.

However, Parks Air Lines encountered difficulties getting service started, and to the best of my knowledge, never flew any revenue flights under the local carrier certificate.  The certificate and aircraft ended up with Ozark Air Lines, fulfilling the carrier’s desire to become a local service airline.  The timetable dated September 26, 1950 (below) shows Ozark’s initial service, and also reveals that much was held over from Parks; flight times, fares, phone numbers, even the typeface used was unchanged.

Please click on the timetable to expand.

Copyright Photo Above: Ton Jochems. A restoration of an Ozark Air Lines Douglas DC-3 keeps the Ozark memories alive today.

As with many of the local carriers, Ozark rapidly expanded as its certificate would allow.  By the mid-1950’s, Ozark was operating to 28 destinations in 8 midwestern states, as depicted on this January 2, 1955 timetable.

Please click on the timetable to expand.

By the mid- to late-1950’s, the local service airlines were contemplating larger equipment to supplement their DC-3 fleets.  Generally speaking, these airlines followed one (or more) of three paths to acquire larger aircraft; purchase new F-27’s from Fairchild, acquire Convair 240/340/440’s on the secondhand market, or similarly procure used Martin 202/404’s.  Ozark was something of an anomaly, in that the carrier actually exercised all three options.

Ozark’s first post-DC-3 type was the F-27, and the timetable dated January 4, 1960 (below) is the first to show the type in service.  (Internet sources put the first F-27 service as September 27, 1959, but the timetables for late October and December 1 both advertise the F-27 as “Coming Soon” and indicate that all flights were being operated by DC-3’s  Earlier issues did suggest a planned September start date for the F-27, but it appears that was postponed.)  This issue shows further expansion of the airline’s route network (particularly in Iowa) and jet-prop service to 11 destinations.

Please click on the timetable to expand.

Please click on the Route Map to expand.

Above Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem Collection. Convair 240-4 N2400Z waits for its next assignment at St. Louis.

Used aircraft were less expensive than new F-27’s, so Ozark picked up a small number of used Convair 240’s.  Being older and slower than the F-27’s, the Convairs received little mention.  The timetable dated August 13, 1962 (below) is the first to show the 240 in service, operating between St. Louis and Chicago via intermediate stations in Illinois.

Please click on the timetable to expand.

A few short years later, an equipment swap with Mohawk Airlines saw the Convairs leave Ozark’s fleet, to be replaced by Martin 404’s.  This allowed Mohawk to operate a standardized Convair fleet, while Ozark gained by getting a larger number of Martins to expand operations.  The timetables indicate no “overlap” of the two types, with the Martins taking over the 200-series flights previously operated by the Convairs in the December 1, 1964 timetable (below).  This issue does promote new Martin 404 service between St. Louis and Milwaukee.

Click on the Route Map to expand.

To be continued in Part 2: The coming of the Douglas DC-9 jets and the Fairchild-Hiller FH-227B turboprops.

Ozark Air Lines/Ozark Airlines: 

Comments can made directly on this WAN blog or you can contact David directly at:

David Keller

email: dkeller@airlinetimetables.com

website: http://airlinetimetables.com

blog: http://airlinetimetableblog.blogspot.com