June 1973*
Hughes Airwest predecessor Bonanza Air Lines started scheduled passenger services into Grand Canyon Airport in 1966, using Fairchild F-27 aircraft, and advertising the "Only airline serving Grand Canyon." Eventually AirWest introduced Douglas DC-9 service to the airport with Hughes Airwest continuing the jet flights with up to three, daily non-stop flights to Las Vegas. Parked on the tarmac during a morning turn-around is N9336, a Douglas DC-9-31, delivered new to AirWest in November 1968.



September 1975*
The Fairchild F-27 was the first "jet" aircraft to provide passenger service to Grand Canyon when Bonanza Air Lines started service from Las Vegas in 1966. The Fairchild F-27 continued to have a large presence into the late 1970s, when the turboprop was used to provide services from Grand Canyon to Phoenix, Las Vegas, Page, and Cedar City under the Hughes Airwest banner. Parked on the ramp on a bright fall morning and awaiting its start to the day is, N2772R, a Fairchild F-27A.



January 1980*
One Because Grand Canyon was located about 160 miles east of Las Vegas by air, many "airlines" were started during the 1960s and 1970s to cater to both Vegas and Grand Canyon. Nevada Airlines was one such carrier starting in 1971 and using surplus Douglas DC-3 on flights from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon as well as to other smaller destinations within Nevada. Parked on the ramp and awaiting to take a load of tourists back to Las Vegas is N138D, a Douglas DC-3-277C, originally delivered to American Airlines in 1940.



September 1980*
Mountain West Airlines was a commuter airlines based in Boise, Idaho that started operations in January 1979. Although scheduled commuter flights were located in the "Mountain West" including Idaho, Utah, and Nevada, the airline did provide charters with its aircraft, such as this example, N522MW, an Embraer EMB-110P1, awaiting Grand Canyon tour passengers on the ramp.



September 1981*
When Republic Airlines purchased Hughes Airwest in September 1980, the airline continued to provide pure jet service to Grand Canyon using the Douglas DC-9 to both Las Vegas and Phoenix. Republic Airlines would serve Grand Canyon airport until September 1984, when route restructuring resulting in the dropping of the destination. Seen parked on the ramp and awaiting passengers for another flight is N913RW, a Douglas DC-9-31, originally delivered to Hawaiian Airlines in March 1969 and purchased by Hughes Airwest in January 1976.



August 1983*
Grand Canyon Airlines was originally founded as Scenic Airways in 1927, and is considered to be the world's oldest air tour operators. The Grand Canyon National Park was one of the most visited destinations in the nation, and the stunning vistas and complex geography made passenger air tours the way to see the magnificent canyon. Over the years various aircraft have been used to provide sight-seeing flights however the high-wing, and large windows of the de-Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter made it a perfect choice for the thousands of tourists each year. Parked on the ramp and awaiting a start to its days flights is N76GC, a de Havilland DHC-6-300. This aircraft was subsequently involved in a fatal mid-air collision with a helicopter on June 18, 1986 over the Tonto Plateau resulting in the loss of all passengers and crew.



December 1987*
America West Airlines became the first scheduled airline to provide service into Grand Canyon Airport since Republic Airlines had dropped service in 1984. The airline established its own "commuter" network by ordering the de Havilland DHC-8 to shuttle passengers from smaller regional cities into Phoenix. Grand Canyon was one of the first airports to be added to the new service when flights were started on March 2, 1987 to Phoenix via Flagstaff. Parked on the ramp during a cold winter evening is N801AW, a de Havilland DHC-8-102, delivered new to the airline on February 26, 1987.



October 1990*
America West soon expanded it service at Grand Canyon, adding flights to it's Las Vegas hub in late 1987. By 1990, the airline had four daily departures from Grand Canyon; with two to Las Vegas and two to Phoenix via Flagstaff using the de Havilland DHC-8. Within a year, due to escalating operating costs the airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and during reorganization dropped Grand Canyon from its route map. Seen "over-the-numbers" for landing on Runway 21 is N805AW, a de Havilland DHC-8-102.



April 1992*
Looking to cater to the growing sightseeing business around the Grand Canyon, a local Las Vegas businessman started Scenic Airlines in 1967. Initially using Cessna aircraft, the owners worked with de Havilland to retrofit the DHC-6 Twin otter to be more suitable for sightseeing service with larger windows, dubbed the "VistaLiner."  Scenic acquired its first Twin Otter in 1983, and by 1992 was providing no less then seven daily passenger flights from Las Vegas to Grand canyon as well as service to Bryce Canyon, Utah and Sedona, Arizona from the airport. Parked on the ramp on a pleasant spring day is N140SA, a de Havilland DHC-6-300.



March 1993*
Although having been established in Las Vegas in 1980 as an air-tour operator, Grand Airways started scheduled passenger flights in late 1989 Using the Swearingen Metro turboprop, flights to Grand Canyon were started from Las Vegas with multiple daily flights with some continuing on to Los Angeles. Parked on the ramp during a bright spring morning is N3109B, a Swearingen SA227AC Metro III, purchased by Grand Airways in July 1990.



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