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New York Air

New York Air was a 1980s startup airline owned by Texas Air Corporation and based at Hangar 5 at LaGuardia Airport in Flushing, Queens, New York City. In 1980, airline industry entrepreneur Frank Lorenzo created a holding company for his Texas International Airlines called Texas Air Corporation.  

In the autumn of 1980, Texas Air created a new airline called New York Air (NYA), the second of America's post-deregulation airlines after Midway Airlines, which had been founded a year earlier in 1979 (see Airline Deregulation Act of 1978).

New York Air was based at New York's LaGuardia Airport, very near the Queens neighborhood where Lorenzo had been raised. New York Air became Lorenzo's challenge to the expensive and near-monopoly Eastern Airlines Shuttle, and provided cheaper and equally frequent (hourly) flights between New York, Boston and Washington-Reagan National.

Founding New York Air president, Neal F. Meehan, had been a senior manager at both Continental Airlines and at Texas International Airlines (TI). In September, 1980, Meehan quickly assembled a talented team of airline managers, including Ken Carlson (Strategy), Harris Hermann (Legal), Stephen Kolski (Flight Operations), William C. Bottoms (Maintenance), Scott Christian (Economic Planning), Charles Bare (Chief Pilot), and Louise Gilliam (Inflight Service). 

Within 90 days, this core management team had hired, trained, uniformed, and drilled New York Air's flight crew, flight attendants, dispatchers, terminal, ramp and reservations personnel. Office and maintenance facilities in the hangar which had originally housed American Airlines headquarters at LaGuardia in the 1930s were thrown up rapidly, and the carrier obtained FAA certification as an adjunct to TI's certificate. In one notable vignette, New York Air managers interviewed over a thousand candidates for flight attendant, reservations, and airport jobs in one day of group interviews held at New York's famed Town Hall Theater, in September 1980. 

The Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) pilots' union fought New York Air vigorously, running picket lines at LaGuardia and Washington National and taking out critical ads in the New York newspapers. Suspected acts of vandalism, interference, and prohibited aircrew operations were also reported by New York Air flight crews and managers.



New York Air's representatives to the Airline Scheduling Committees (CAB-authorized committees of airline representatives that allocated takeoff and landing slots at capacity-controlled airports in New York, Washington, and Chicago) were stonewalled for months as they sought to get the necessary 'slots' for New York Air to operate its shuttle services between New York, Washington, and Boston. Eventually, however, the airline succeeded in overcoming all obstacles. New York Air service commenced on 19 December 1980 with shuttle operations between New York LaGuardia, Washington National, and Boston Logan airports.  

A moribund U.S. economy and the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) strike badly hurt New York Air's first 15 months of operation. The strike particularly affected the New York, Boston, and Washington airports where NYA operated a vast majority of its flights. Passenger traffic began to build substantially in 1982 after President Ronald Reagan intervened against PATCO strikers, and the U.S. economy began to recover.

A new CEO, Michael E. Levine, was brought aboard in 1982 to restructure the airline. Levine first shrunk NYA, then doubled it in size between by 1984 at which time NYA was solidly profitable. Levine left NYA in the spring of 1984. 
At its operational peak, New York Air employed over 2,000 people before Texas Air combined NYA with Continental Airlines on February 1, 1987. The New York Air image and livery disappeared as NYA was integrated into Continental mainline operations during 1987.
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