THE AIRPORTS

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

BURBANK-GLENDALE-PASADENA

BUR

What can be considered one of the first true commercial airports in the Los Angeles region, United Airport was opened in 1930, within the City of Burbank.  As its name suggests, the airport was sited and developed by both Boeing Aircraft and United Airlines as a means to develop passenger service in Southern California. Over the next decade, ownership changes prompted the airport to be renamed Union Air Terminal, then Lockheed Air Terminal in 1940, when Lockheed purchased the airport. When Lockheed purchased the airport in 1940, three airlines were providing passenger services; United Airlines, Western Airlines and TWA. American Airlines was still providing flights to neighboring Glendale Airport (Grand Central Airport) a few miles to the southeast. During 1947, the majority of airline flights left Burbank (and Glendale) and moved to the Los Angeles International Airport, however commercial service remained at Burbank at reduced levels. Over the next twenty years, Burbank remained the one of largest "satellite" airports in the Los Angeles region and was being served by Pacific Airlines, Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA), Western Airlines, and United Airlines. In 1967, the airport changed its name again to Hollywood-Burbank and during the late 1970s and early 1980s saw its biggest expansion yet, with national carriers continuing service along with new regional airlines. In 1978, to better reflect the cities surrounding the airport, another name change arrived which titled the field, Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport.  By the mid-1980s, the airport was being served by nine airlines with non-stop flights being provided as far as Chicago, Denver, and Seattle.

 


April 1975
By the early 1970s Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) had become the dominate carrier operating from Hollywood-Burbank Airport. The intra-state carrier had no less then twenty flights as day from Burbank to Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose. So much was PSA a presence at the airport that in 1975, the airline constructed its own terminal complete with ticketing, baggage and waiting areas. To celebrate the opening of the new terminal in April 1975, a postcard was produced and used by both the City of Burbank and PSA to promote service at the airport. The card showed two views of PSA's Boeing 727s parked on the tarmac around a bustling ramp atmosphere on a bright spring day. (Postcard)

 

 


February 1979
Continental Airlines was awarded routes between the Pacific Northwest and Southern California by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) in 1970. Flights were started between Burbank and both San Jose and Ontario, California and Portland, Oregon, using the Boeing 720B airplane. With the delivery of the Boeing 727s in the early 1970s, Continental placed the Boeing tri-jet on the Burbank-San Jose, Burbank-Portland, and Burbank-Ontario services. Continental Airlines remained at Burbank into the 1980s eventually starting non-stop service to Denver before stopping all service in June 1988. Holding in position on Runway 15 for an early afternoon departure to Portland, Oregon, is N88712, a Boeing 727-224.


 


November 1979
Aspen Airways was founded in Aspen, Colorado 1952, to provide airline service between Denver and Aspen. During the 1970s the airline acquired Convair 580 turbo-prop equipment and extended it wings across Colorado and neighboring states focusing it's efforts from a Denver hub. During 1979, Aspen sought to tap the market to the California mountain resort location of Lake Tahoe (similar to Aspen during the winter ski season). Flights were started in November 1979, from Burbank, San Jose, and San Francisco to Lake Tahoe. By 1981, flights between Burbank and Los Angeles were added, feeding travelers into the busy LAX airport, and with a block time of only 20 minutes, the 19-mile flight was one of the shortest scheduled at the time. Within a few years it was found that trying to manage two different flights schedules (Denver based and California), Aspen decided to stop services in California and left the market in September 1983. Parked at the passenger terminal just weeks after having stated service is N5815, a Convair 580, purchased by the airline in June 1978 from Allegheny Airlines.

 

 


October 1980
San Luis Obispo based Swift Aire was an early California commuter airline being established in 1969. Hoping to fill the void left by Southwest Airlines when their new Martin 4-0-4 planes had to relocate to neighboring Paso Robles Airport due to runway restrictions at San Luis Obispo. With a varied and growing fleet of planes Swift Aire connected the central California city to Los Angeles and San Francisco.  With the introduction of Fokker F-27 turboprops in 1980, Swift Aire was serving seven cities throughout California. The airline was then purchased by new commuter conglomerate Golden Gate Airlines in 1981. Although Burbank wasn't a regular scheduled airport for Swift Aire, the F-27s were occasional visitors for pilot training and minor maintenance. Parked at the general aviation ramp is N421SA, a Fokker  F-27-600 Friendship.

 

 

November 1981
After the purchase of Hughes Airwest by Republic Airlines in October 1980, the new national carrier would continue to serve Burbank as the second busiest carrier from the airport behind Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA). During the merger Hughes Airwest provided flights to five cities, including the longer distance serves to Houston-Hobby and Salt Lake City. Republic eventually reduced operations at Burbank to providing serve to its to focus cities of Phoenix and Las Vegas by 1983. Parked on the ramp and awaiting passengers during a morning turnaround is N302RC, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82), delivered new to Republic just a few months earlier on September 5, 1981.

 


June 1982
Air California proposed service to Burbank in 1969, but was denied the request due to similar intra-state carrier Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) already having been awarded service into the airport. It would be over ten years until service was sought at Burbank by newly rebranded AirCal. Although now in direct competition with PSA's historical strong-hold at Burbank, AirCal would introduce the "quiet" McDonnell Douglas MD-80s which had just been delivered to the airline and opened up landing slots for the carrier. Non-stop flights commenced in June 1982, from Burbank to Oakland, Sacramento and San Jose. AirCal would continue to serve Burbank until its purchase by American Airlines in 1987. Over-the-numbers for landing on Runway 15 is N475AC, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-81 (MD-81), delivered new to AirCal in May 1981.

 

 


July 1984
Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) had established a firm foot-hold in the Burbank market and in an effort to gain more landing slots, introduced the super quiet British Aerospace BAe 146 to the airport. The low noise footprint allowed PSA to increase flights into the airport and remain the dominant carrier. PSA's first BAe 146 was delivered on June 13, 1984, and placed on services between Burbank and Oakland on June 20, 1984. Eventually the 146 "Smiliner" would fly the majority of flights from Burbank to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Oakland and San Francisco. Awaiting taxi clearance from ground control under the noon-day sun is N346PS, a British Aerospace BAe 146-200, the first of the British aircraft to be delivered to PSA. Note the company 727 taxiing out to the active runway in the back.

 

 


October 1984
In April 1984, Sun Aire started service into Burbank as an additional airport in the Los Angeles area added as part of the small, regional commuters expansion plan. Early service had non-stop flights to San Diego, yet within a year, additional flights were started to Los Angeles, Ontario, and Palm Springs. The Burbank to Los Angeles flight covered a distance of only 18 miles and had a block time of 15-minutes, however was popular with passengers as a convenient connection to the variety of both domestic and international carriers at LAX. Sun Aire served Burbank until its purchase by Skywest Airlines in 1985. Parked on the terminal ramp and awaiting passengers is C-GYRD, a Swearingen SA-226TC Metro II, on lease to Sun Aire by Canadian airline Perimeter Airlines.

 

 


February 1985
On the heels of deregulation, Alaska Airlines took an aggressive but calculated program of expansion and sought service to cities along the US West Coast. Prior to deregulation, Alaska Airlines was an Alaska specific carrier extending its reach only to Seattle, Washington in the "Lower 48". Flights into Southern California started in March 1981, using both Ontario and Burbank as initial gateways for the introduction of "Gold Coast Service". Burbank was provided with non-stop flights to Ontario, California, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington using the Boeing 727. The "smiling" Eskimo would continue to serve Burbank throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. Rotating for takeoff on Runway 15 for an afternoon departure is N292AS, a Boeing 727-212.

 

 


July 1985
Although Western Airlines was one of the first carriers to start passenger service into the original Burbank Airport in the 1930s, the airline pulled out of Burbank in 1963. It wasn't until twenty-one years later, in July 1984, that Western would reintroduce service due to the growing popularity of the airport and terminal extension which made more landing slots available. Two daily, non-stop flights to Salt Lake City using the Boeing 737-200 were started, proving popular due to the airlines numerous connections at it's Salt Lake City hub. When the airline received it's first Boeing 737-300, Burbank was one of the first airports to host the new "space" age plane due to its Stage III sound profile, which was appreciated by surrounding neighbors. Taxiing outbound toward Runway 15 for an afternoon departure is N3301, a Boeing 737-347 and the first series-300 delivered to Western on March 7, 1985.

 

 

January 1987
As one of the satellite airports in the Los Angeles metropolitan region and location closer to the business and entertainment centers of the city, Burbank was host to numerous corporate aircraft throughout the 1980s. The Boeing 727 became a viable "VIP" aircraft after having seen mainline service. With many of these aircraft available for a bargain, the interiors were modified to luxurious standards and some were used for sports team, entertainment and executive charters. Parked on the general aviation ramp during a visit and being used specifically for Pia Zadora, an actress and singer on a US concert tour is, N888VT, a Boeing 727-76, originally delivered to Trans Australian Airlines (TAA) in 1970, and purchased by View Top Corporation in April 1984, for charter use.

 

 


April 1987
Another occasional VIP Boeing 727 visitor to the Burbank Airport was the private jets operated by Saudi royalty. Parked at the south general parking area and operated by Eastship Ltd. out of Great Britain is G-BMZU, a Boeing 727-30, originally delivered to Lufthansa in 1964, then subsequently purchased by Prince Talud bin Abdul al Saud and converted to a VIP configuration in 1975, then operated by Dan Air Corporation for Eastship Ltd. between November 1986 to October 1987.

 

 


September 1987
Stateswest Airlines was a regional commuter started in 1986, to provide services to both Laughlin-Bullhead City located along the Colorado River in Arizona. With its base in Phoenix, the airline operated the Shorts 360 turboprop from various cities in Southern California to the riverside resort destination. Burbank was an early city to be served by the commuter with flights directly to Laughlin-Bullhead City and later to both Orange County and Ontario. Stateswest serve Burbank until 1991, when the carrier became a USAir Express partner and halted services to the airport. Awaiting taxi clearance and preparing to depart the terminal ramp is N711PK, a Shorts

 

 

August 1988
SkyWest Airlines assumed operation of the Sun Aire routes, when the Salt Lake City based commuter purchased the airline in September 1984. At the time of purchase, Burbank had fifteen daily flights to four cities in Southern California, for which SkyWest continued service and four years later, expanded service under the "Delta Connection" banner. SkyWest would provide a vital regional link to the airport throughout the late 1980s and into the 1990s. Parked on the terminal ramp and preparing for engine start is N683AV, a Fairchild SA227-AC Metro III, leased from PI Corporation in June 1987. Unfortunately this aircraft was involved in a fatal accident on February 1, 1991, at Los Angeles International Airport  when a runway incursion event lead to a USAir Boeing 737-300 landing on same runway as the Metroliner had been given permission to taxi into takeoff position and hold. During landing the 737-300 crushed the Metroliner resulting in the fatalities of all aboard.

 

 

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