Far West Airlines


September 1984

November 1984

Far West Airlines (FV) was a short lived Central California commuter which hoped to establish a hub operation from Fresno to various California cities. In response to the continued loss of air service to Fresno Air Terminal in central California, Far West Airlines was started with the assistance of the City of Fresno to create a “hometown” airline and provide passenger services to points to California and beyond. Although privately owned, guarantees by the city for airport improvements, lead to a minority share in the upstart carrier. An agreement was signed with Hawaii based Mid Pacific Airlines to lease three Japanese made Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (NAMC) YS-11 turboprops. The YS-11 were one of the largest passenger turboprops in service and it was hoped the large seating capacity would effectively compete with the few jet airlines serving both the Bay Area and Los Angeles markets. Authorization to provide service was granted in June 1984, and scheduled passenger flights started on September 24, 1984. Initial services were provided from Fresno to both Oakland and San Jose, with flights expanding to Burbank, Ontario, Modesto, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Orange County-Santa Ana a month later. Initial loads were sluggish and the airline continued to struggle to fill seats. Plans were made to lease additional YS-11 aircraft as well as expand services to Las Vegas and San Francisco. Within a few months the airline was rapidly losing money and additional funding was sought. By December 1984, the airline finding no fresh capital investment, suspended all services on December 13, 1984. It was hoped that additional financing could be found and flights could resume in early 1985, however the airline eventually liquidated assets and returned the aircraft to the lessors in January 1985.

Parked on the ramp awaiting its next departure at the airlines Fresno Air Terminal base in October 1984, and still wearing the colors of lessor Mid Pacific Air is N109MP, a NAMC YS-11-128.


Far West opted for one of the larger turboprops in the market, the NAMC YS-11 with a seating capacity of up to sixty passengers. Seen taxiing toward Runway 30 Left for a mid-day departure at San Jose Municipal Airport in December 1984, is N102MP, a NAMC YS-11-101 wearing the Far West's full color scheme.


When the airline suspended operations in December 1984, all three aircraft were parked at Chico Airport in Northern California awaiting disposition. Seen on the ramp at Chico Airport in February 1985, N102MP, a NAMC YS-11-101.


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