THE AIRPORTS

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

MONTEREY

MRY

Located about 90 miles south of San Francisco along the central California coast, Monterey is a city rich in history and tourism. The defining feature of the Monterey region is the large bay and rugged coastline that continues to draw visitors and seasonal residents. The original Monterey Airport (Del Monte) was opened in 1936, and airline service was started in the early 1940s by United Airlines as a stop on its Fresno-San Francisco service using Douglas DC-3 aircraft. In 1947, Southwest Airways started flights into the airport between Coalinga and Santa Cruz as a stop on it's multi-stop, Los Angeles-San Francisco service also using Douglas DC-3s. In 1958, Southwest Airways became Pacific Airlines and a year later in 1959, turboprop service was introduced when Pacific Airlines started service using "Jet Hawk" Fokker F-27 airplanes from Monterey to Santa Barbara and San Francisco. In 1966, pure jet service was started by Pacific Air Lines to both Los Angeles and San Francisco using Boeing 727 airliners. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Monterey would host numerous commuter airlines as well as regional carriers that would cater to the growing demand of air service on the Monterey Peninsula. Some of these airlines lasted months while other continued to fly into the local airport for years.

 

October 1972
Hughes Airwest assumed operations into Monterey from previous operator Air West which had been the result of a merger between three carriers including Pacific Airlines in 1968. Pacific Airlines was originally formed as Southwest Airways which had been the original airline operator into the airport during 1947. Hughes Airwest continued to provide "jet" service to the airport and by 1972 was providing daily service from Monterey to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Fresno. Having just landed and in reverse thrust on Runway 28 Left is N9340, a Douglas DC-9-31, originally delivered to predecessor Air West in April 1969, and wearing the striking yellow "banana" color scheme.


 

June 1974
United Airlines was the first airlines to start passenger service into Monterey Airport (Del Monte Airport) in the early 1940s, as a stop on its Los Angeles-San Francisco "Coastal" service using Douglas DC-3s. Convair 340 "Mainliner" equipment was then used throughout the late 1950s and into the 1960s until jet service was started in 1968 using Boeing 737s. The new jet service was a welcome addition to the airport and passengers alike with shorter flight times and the modern conveniences of the jet age. Having the integral air-stairs being stowed and getting ready to taxi away from the terminal is N9022U "City of Grand Rapids," a Boeing 737-222.

 

 

September 1975
Although Sierra Pacific Airlines was a scheduled commuter carrier within California, Monterey was not a scheduled destination, however the airlines, Convair 580's were occasionally seen at Monterey during charter or contract military flights especially for adjacent Ford Ord and the Presidio of Monterey. Parked on the ramp is N73301, a Convair 580.

 

 

November 1976
United Airlines remained the largest carrier from Monterey well into the 1970s with frequent daily flights to both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Although the Boeing 737 was typically used on flights into Monterey due to its lower capacity, the Boeing 727 and Douglas DC-8s occasionally supplemented the 737 during the 1970s. The DC-8 seemed a rather odd type for the relatively short "hop" to San Francisco, only 70 miles to the northeast, however the plane was used at times on the Chicago-San Francisco-Monterey through service. For a few years in the early 1980s, United expanded its presence at the airport and even started non-stop service to both Denver and Chicago, both of which lasted only a very short time. Seen taxiing outbound for a morning flight to San Francisco is N8005U, "Capt. W.D. Williams," a Douglas DC-8-21 originally delivered to the airline in June 1959, and named after the Assistant Chief Pilot of United Airlines in the 1930s.

 

 

April 1978
The Monterey Peninsula was home to three important military installations; Fort Ord, Presidio of Monterey and the U.S. Navy Postgraduate School. Due to the various military requirements, a frequent visitor to the Monterey Airport was the US Air Force C-9 "Nightingale" aircraft. The C-9 was the military variant of the popular Douglas DC-9 aircraft and was ordered by the Air Force in 1967 as a replacement to the C-118 "Liftmaster" and C-131 "Samaritan propeller driven planes. The C-9 was specifically designed to carry both ambulatory and litter patients for the Air Mobility Command as the primary airframe for both medical transportation and evacuation. The first of eight initially ordered planes was delivered in 1968, and assigned to the 375th Aeromedical Airlift Wing from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. For the next thirty years, the Air Force C-9s were the foundation of aeromedical flights within the U.S. Air Force. On its takeoff roll on Runway 28 Left is 68-10960, a Douglas C-9A "Nightingale" (DC-9-32CF), assigned to the 375th Air Mobility Wing, Scott Air Force Base and delivered new to the U.S. Air Force in December 1969.

 

July 1978
Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) sought to provide service to Monterey in the early 1970s. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was reluctant to approve a service application for PSA because the seaside resort city was already being served by long-time tenants United Airlines and Hughes Airwest. United caught wind of the proposed PSA route application and threatened to pull out of Monterey completely if PSA was allowed "in." Although Monterey was considered more a "tourist" destination rather then a "business" destination due to its surrounding venues such as Big Sur and Pebble Beach Golf Course, United was adamant to maintaining its virtual monopoly at the airport. After four years of hearings and a vote of the citizens of Monterey, PSA was finally granted service in June 1978, with flights to Monterey from both San Francisco and Los Angeles using the Boeing 727. Monterey would be the thirteenth California city to be served by PSA. Although the flights into Monterey were initially popular with PSA's successful ads campaigns, the competition with United Airlines in the relatively "light" market and need to place aircraft onto more lucrative routes, resulted in PSA dropping Monterey service less then a year later in May 1979. PSA would again add Monterey as a destination on its route map in 1986. Preparing to depart the ramp at the Monterey Peninsula Airport for a mid-day flight is N977PS, a Boeing 727-51, originally delivered to Northwest Orient Airlines in March 1965.

 

 

June 1980
Air California throughout the 1970s continued to consider secondary airports in which to add to it's growing network. Monterey was one such airport and authority was granted and flights started in July 1978, with services to San Francisco, Orange County, Sacramento and Ontario. Although the airline was competing directly with United and Hughes Airwest especially on the San Francisco route, Air California gave travelers another option of service as well as convenient flights into two of the Southern California satellite airports. Preparing to depart the terminal ramp area for another flight is N462GB, a Boeing 737-293, which was delivered to the airline on September 18, 1968.