History Of Ozark Airlines





History Of Ozark Airlines

Ozark Airlines In 1950, Ozark Airlines opened its door to the public. The airline had purchased DC-3 aircraft from the defunct  Parks Airline. In 1947, the Civil Aeronautics Board had issued a certificate to Parks Airlines. However, Parks never opened its door and two years later the CAB canceled Parks certification. Ozark began expanding its routes in the northwest and southwest.

By the mid 50's, Ozark Airlines purchased turbo prop aircraft. This put Ozark Airlines in the running as a viable air carrier. In 1978, the Airline Deregulation Act 1978, was enacted. This allow Ozark to expand into more profitable routes and drop those routes that was less profitable.
However, this act brought about fierce competition within the industry. Air carriers were looking to purchase other carriers to gain a stronger market share and eliminate competition. The prices wars broke out. Air carriers were trying to gain passenger profits and put other carriers out of business. Ozark Airlines was unable to gain the edge. In 1986, TWA purchased Ozark Airlines. 

Ozark Air Lines' origins date back to September 1943 when it was founded in Springfield, Missouri and it began operations in January 1945 with service between Springfield and St. Louis using Beech 17 Staggerwing aircraft. Those were replaced by Cessna AT-17 Bobcat in the late 1940s.

But a license by the Civil Aeronautics Board was not forthcoming therefore operations had to be stopped. Another airline, Parks Air Lines, got an operating license so in 1950 Ozark took over Parks Air Lines, to include some Douglas DC-3. Flights from St. Louis to Chicago soon followed and by 1955 the airline had 13 DC-3s operating to over 25 destinations. The main hub for Ozark was Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. 

In 1960, the fleet was upgraded to turboprops with the introduction of the Fokker F27 Friendship and to increase capacity the Martin 4-0-4 was introduced in 1964. The pure jet age came to Ozark in 1966 with the introduction of the Douglas DC-9-10 and with those the network was expanded to include: Denver, Indianapolis, Louisville, Washington, New York, Miami, Tampa and Orlando. Soon the DC-3s and F27s were replaced by the Fairchild Hiller FH-227 until October 1978, when the fleet was composed of DC-9s only.

Over the years, Ozark's DC-9-10s were augmented with DC-9-31/32 and DC-9-40s until 1984 when the McDonnell Douglas MD-82 was introduced. In the mid-1980s, Ozark and TWA had a de facto duopoly at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, a hub for both.

Ozark accounted for 26.3 percent of emplanements at STL in 1985, while TWA accounted for another 56.6 percent. On March 1, 1986, the two airlines announced plans to merge: TWA would buy Ozark for $242 million in cash. Shareholders of both airlines approved the merger by late summer, and the U.S. Department of Transportation gave its approval on September 12, 1986.

Ozark ceased to exist as an independent company on October 27, 1986. In 1998, the 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, from Columbia Regional Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Chicago Midway Airport, using two Fairchild Dornier 328JET aircraft. 

A year later the company ceased operations and sold its assets to the now-bankrupt Great Plains Airlines, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. From the 1960s through the late 1980s, Ozark Air Lines' reservations department utilized 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.)

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