Desert Sun Airlines


September 1982


January 1985


Desert Sun Airlines (FE) was a local commuter airline based at Long Beach airport started to provide “commuter” service to Southern California “desert” communities. Flights started on August 25, 1982, with two daily departures on a Los Angeles-Riverside-Blythe route using Piper Navajo equipment.

By 1983, the airline had become popular by providing service to communities which had lost scheduled flights after deregulation, and had added routes to Ridgecrest/Inyokern and Lancaster, both from Los Angeles International Airport LAX. The single Piper Navajo, had now grown to five Navajo’s as well as the addition of two Beech 99 "commuter" turboprops. New services were proposed in 1984, from Long Beach to both Bullhead City and Lake Havasu, Arizona however financial difficulties started to affect the airline. Load factors had been decent and the airline flew 3,200 passengers in 1983, however passenger bookings were not enough to cover the lease cost of the aircraft as well as airport fees at Los Angeles International Airport. Desert Sun struggled through the first part of 1985, however could not maintain cash-flow and eventually shut operations down in September 1985.

Desert Sun was able to enter the lucrative Los Angeles LAX market with flights to the desert cities of Lancaster, Ridgecrest/Inyokern, and Riverside. Seen taxiing along Taxiway XX, as the new International Terminal is being constructed at Los Angeles International Airport in August 1983, is N4107Q, a Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain.


Desert Sun was able to provide convenient connections to passengers by using Terminal 4 at Los Angeles International Airport. Parked on the tarmac at LAX as passengers are being loaded up for another local flight in April 1984, is N35184, a Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain.


Desert Sun introduced two Beech 99 turboprops to supplement the Piper Navajos and add passenger capacity. Parked at Los Angeles International Airport LAX Terminal 4 commuter ramp in February 1985, is N51PA, a Beechcraft B-99A.


After Desert Sun ceased operations in September 1985, many of its aircraft were stored at its home base of Long Beach. Seen parked and awaiting disposition in August 1987, is N4107Q, a Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain.



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