Date: 27 Jun 97 15:37:17 From: Ken Ishiguro <email@example.com> Organization: Netcom References: 1 2 3 Followups: 1
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Mihir Pramod Shah wrote: > > Brian Maddison wrote: > > > > They never owned the 200s, altho I do believe one or two were leased for > > a short time. Most of the American-owned 200s (N-numbers with AC suffix) > > went to the Kansas City incarnation of Braniff and have since wound up > > with various operators, including Viscount. I don't know where the leased > > ones (GB suffix) went and I can't find them in any current US fleet. > > I've never heard of Viscount. Are you possible thinking of Vanguard, > which does use 737-200's and is based in Kansas City? Just wanted to > make sure... American did, indeed own 737-200's and -300's for approximately 12-24 months, around 1985. They got these when they purchased AirCal (ex. Air California), code OC to obtain AirCal's route system. At the time of purchase, this extended to all major cities from SEA down to SAN, also RNO, PHX?, LAS, ORD, etc. Their hub was John Wayne/Orange County Airport, SNA. AA paid big bucks $450M to gain these markets; ironically the only old AirCal route AA still flies out of SNA is SNA-ORD. All the other routes out of SNA have either been abandoned by AA, or are flown under codeshare by Reno Air (QQ). These routes are SNA-SJC/RNO/SEA. The purchase was probably spurred by US Air's acquisition of PSA, which pretty much competed route for route with OC. AirCal flew 737-200, 737-300, MD80, and BAe 146; all of these flew in AA livery for varying lengths of time after the purchase. Some of OCs -200 fleet was leased to Aloha Airlines. OC also had an arrangement with Aer Lingus; a -200 in EI colors would frequent SNA from time to time. They also flew Lockheed Electras; these were gone by 1980. AirCal and SNA history: Air California started in 1967, when SNA was opened to jet operations. Previously, SNA was serviced by Air West, Bonanza, etc. by F27's and the like. As the local Orange County area boomed, development encroached, and the airport is now one of the world's most noise-sensitive (with a very interesting and questionably safe departure). The -200s were put on less noise sensitive routes, and the MD80s, -300s, and 146's were used increasingly for SNA ops. In 1980(?) Air California had their first and only accident (several minor injuries). The airline was soon renamed AirCal with a new livery (which was one of the most handsome liveries I have seen on an MD-80). SNA is now served by AA,UA,CO,DL,NW,AS,TW,QQ,WN,US,HP, several commuters, FedEx, and UPS. They also have heavy corporate and private operations. The airport is under strict noise rules including jet curfews, allowed aircraft types, number of departures, and number of passengers. This leads to incentives to get as many people out per flight on as quiet an aircraft as possible; numerous 757s, 737-300/-400, MD80/88/90, and A320/310. SNA is capable of 767-200 ops, but none have ever done so, even though AA has 2 SNA-DFW morning flights 10 minutes apart which both go out full. Although the airport has existed at the site since 1923, there is heavy political pressure to close SNA and relocate El Toro Marine Corps Air Station which is closing in 1999. (See eltoroairport.com) Tail numbers and fate of the fleet: The AC suffix is obvious, the GB suffix was also popular, and I believe predated the AC suffix. I do agree this was probably the leasing company. In 1985 I flew the reincarnated Braniff from MCI to MKE and recognized the aircraft as ex-AirCal. The tail number, interior decor, and even the galley carts and trays were still AirCal. Around 1987 I did see a row of 146s in AA colors parked at LAS. I don't know if the MD80s were absorbed into AAs fleet. Can anyone provide more detail on the fate of AirCal's aircraft? The reincarnated Braniff's hub was MCI, so the Vanguard theory holds a lot of water. There is also a website of ex-AirCal employees, with lots of history, nostalgia, etc. Don't recall the URL; try a search.