Airlines For the Rest Of Us: The Rise and Fall of America's Local Service Airlines
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Small Cities 'to be Hurt Tremendously' by Airline Cuts"Airline Subsidy Cuts Leave Three Towns Flightless"No Convenient Route to Buffalo-actual newspaper headlines, 2007-08It wasn't always like this. At least, not during the era of the Local Service Airlines. From the 1950s through the mid-1980s, these feisty, colorful startups provided a level of service unheard of today, reaching small communities across America. They had to. Encouraged and supported by the Civil Aeronautics Board, these privately-owned companies were mandated to bring reliable scheduled airline transportation-plus airmail and small package service-to the citizens of places like Enid, Oklahoma; or Walla Walla, Washington; or Kokomo, Indiana-and other places ignored by the bigger and older airlines. The "locals" may have begun with second-hand propeller-driven equipment, like the legendary DC-3, but by the mid-60s they were operating turboprops and jets-just like the bigger airlines. And some of these Locals, especially Frontier and Ozark and Piedmont, eventually gave the big boys a run for their money. One Local, Allegheny, became today's US Airways. These truly were Airlines For the Rest of Us, and this is the story of how they began, how they grew, and why they disappeared.
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