December 1959*
Pacific Air Lines could trace its lineage back to the first commercial airline operator which started service into San Jose City Airport. Southwest Airways inaugurated flights on February 1, 1949, using a Douglas DC-3. The airport was an additional stop on the airlines Los Angeles to San Francisco run, San Jose now being connected directly to San Francisco at the north and Santa Cruz to the south. After Southwest Airways was consolidated to form Pacific Air Lines, Fokker F-27 Friendship turbo-prop flights commenced in July 1959, with non-stop flights to Los Angeles. Seen taxiing away from the ramp on a hazy morning is, N2775R, a Fairchild F-27A, delivered new to the airline on June 24, 1959.


January 1966*
Pacific Southwest Airlines-PSA saw an opportunity to start service to the new San Jose Municipal Airport and inaugurated flights in May 1966. Prior to that PSA aircraft were occasionally seen at the airport providing charity flights or charter operations. Seen parked on the ramp with a crowd of spectators there to great the plane is N173PS, a Lockheed L-188 Electra-C, delivered new to the airline on December 9, 1959.



April 1971
Not to be outdone by competitor Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA), California's second intra-state airline, Air California, sought to add service to the new San Jose Airport and applied for permission from the California Public Utilities Commission in 1965. Approval was received and the airline became the third tenant at the new airport starting flights on October 10,1967, using Lockheed Electra L-188 airplanes on the non-stop flights to Orange County-Santa Ana Airport. Jet service using the Boeing 737s was started 1968 eventually replacing the Electra aircraft. Parked on the ramp and awaiting taxi clearance is N468AC, a Boeing 737-293.



April 1972
During the early 1960s Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) embarked on a program to provide scenic flights for various charity groups at numerous cities throughout California. Seats were sold at the charity and the money made was given back to the charity by the airline. It was a successful marketing and promotional strategy that brought deserved recognition to PSA. When San Jose Municipal Airport was opened to the public in September 1965, PSA which did not serve the airport at that time, provided short flights with its Boeing 727. Over 1,000 people lined up to fly for "free" and the airline continued the flights throughout the day until no one was left. A month later the airline applied to start service into the new airport with flights stating in May 1966, to Los Angeles, San Diego and Burbank. Taxiing away from the terminal for a mid-morning flight to Los Angeles is N541PS, a Boeing 727-214, delivered new to PSA in June 1969.



April 1972*
When Air West was purchased by Howard Hughes in 1970, the new owner rebranded the airline with his name and introduced a striking yellow and blue color scheme. Hughes Airwest would continue services from San Jose with non-stop flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix, as well as flights just up north to both San Francisco and Oakland. Seen taxiing away from the terminal ramp for a mid-morning departure is N9339, a Douglas DC-9-31, delivered new to Air West in April 1969.


April 1973
It was not uncommon for many of the regional airlines to temporarily lease aircraft to provide increase capacity due to seasonal fluctuations or awaiting delivery of their own aircraft. Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) would occasionally lease out other aircraft to balance passenger demand such as this example having just pulled onto the tarmac and preparing to deplane passengers using the integral air-stairs. The airframe N469AC, a Boeing 737-293 is wearing hybrid Aloha Airlines colors with a "PSA" logotype applied after having just received the airplane a few days earlier on April 5, 1973. This aircraft remained with PSA for only a five months before being returned back to Aloha Airlines.



June 1973
During late 1972, PSA embarked on a corporate rebranding and traded in its traditional white and red image into a colorful eye-catching "psychedelic" livery. Tri-colored stripes of red, orange and fuchsia were a bold statement to the airlines growth and prosperity. The familiar smile was kept adding to the likeness of the airline. Aside from changing aircraft colors, PSA also redesigned everything from stationary to ground equipment to show off its new image. One of the more popular changes was the redesign of the stewardess uniforms to short "hot" pants, and tall go-go boots, which turned many heads. Starting its takeoff roll on Runway 30 Left for an early morning departure to Los Angeles is N538PS, a Boeing 727-214.



May 1974
Holiday Airlines was formed in 1965, as a local air taxi operator based in Los Angeles. In 1968, the airline acquired three Lockheed Electra turboprop planes to start scheduled flights into the mountain resort of Lake Tahoe. Flights were started between Los Angeles-Lake Tahoe, San Jose-Lake Tahoe and San Diego-Lake Tahoe. The airline operated passenger flights until April 1975, when they declared bankruptcy and it's assets taken over by Air California. Taxiing toward Runway 30 Left as a Continental Airlines 727 just touches down on the active runway is N971HA, a Lockheed L-188 Electra-C, originally delivered to Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) in 1959.



May 1974
As the result of a Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) route award in 1970, Continental Airlines started service into San Jose with flights to both Burbank and Portland, Oregon initially with Boeing 707s. As the second "national" airline to start flying into San Jose (after United Airlines), Continental provided the only non-stop service to the Pacific Northwest and a second option for flights into Burbank in Southern California. Holding short on Runway 30 Left for a mid-day departure is N66726, a Boeing 727-224, delivered new to Continental Airlines on April 27, 1973.



August 1974*
Pacific Southwest Airlines PSA became the second airline after Pacific Airlines to start passenger services into San Jose when flights were started in May 1966. By 1974, PSA had a total of sixteen daily departures from San Jose to Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Diego. Seen pulling into the ramp after an intrastate flight, and still wearing the "classic" colors from the 1960s, is N545PS, a Boeing 727-214.



June 1975
Hughes Airwest continued to be the only airline to provide service to both Phoenix and Las Vegas from San Jose thus becoming a popular choice especially for business travelers in the growing Silicone Valley tech market. Taxiing towards Runway 30 Left for a mid-day departure is N9349, a Douglas DC-9-15RC (Rapid Change), originally delivered to Continental Airlines in October 1967.



November 1976
Air California started operations using a pair of Lockheed Electra Turboprops in 1967, however within a few years, the days of the Electra were numbered as 737 equipment was being added. New life was in-store for the venerable turboprop, when service to Lake Tahoe was introduced in 1975. The unique Lake Take Airport located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains was at an elevation of over 6,000 feet and the city had a ban on regular passenger jet aircraft. The Electra was a perfect fit and over the next five years, additional Electra’s were acquired which allowed the airline to serve Lake Tahoe from five different California cities. By 1980, however, the continued costs of maintaining the aging Electra and political pressure from the City of South Lake Tahoe to reduce “air traffic congestion,” resulted in Air California dropping Lake Tahoe service and retiring its Electra fleet in March 1980. Seen departing the ramp for a short morning“hop” to Lake Tahoe is N124AC, a Lockheed L-188A Electra, purchased by Air California in June 1975.


June 1977
In 1968, United Airlines was the third "jet" carrier and first national airline to start service into San Jose. Non-stop flights were started to both Chicago-O'Hare and Denver using the Boeing 727 and for a short time, a daily flight to New York-JFK using a Douglas DC-8. United was able to allow San Jose to be connected to the Nation as an additional airport to be served in the Bay Area. Caught on short-final to Runway 30 Left is N8032U, a Douglas DC-8-21, delivered new to United Air Lines in September 1960.



July 1977
Overnight air package company Federal Express was formed to provide express and overnight delivery services from various points across the United States. The company started operations in 1973, using a fleet of fourteen converted French made Dassault Falcon executive jets to fly to twenty-five cities. Within a few years, Federal Express had expanded to the West Coast and started service to numerous cities including San Jose, which had a viable market due to the surrounding high-tech industries. Parked on the cargo ramp and awaiting another load of packages for its nocturnal flight to Memphis, Tennessee is N24FE "Colleen," a Dassault Falcon-20EW, originally delivered to Pan American Airlines in 1971 and purchased by Federal Express in April 1973.



July 1977
It had been nine years since Air California had started service into San Jose and the airline had grown to become one of the largest airlines serving the airport. By 1977, the airline had over twenty-five flights a day to San Diego, Orange County, Ontario, Sacramento, San Jose, and Lake Tahoe. Parked on the tarmac with the integral air-stairs deployed providing a most convenient service at the jet-bridgeless terminal is N462GB, a Boeing 737-293.



August 1978
To serve longer routes, Hughes Airwest placed an order for fifteen Boeing 727s in 1975, however Howard Hughes passed away In February 1976, and this led the Summa Board to cancel the orders of an aircraft deemed unfit for the fleet. Five 727 series-200 were already financed and the airline would take delivery of the planes. The first Boeing 727 was delivered in April 1976, and in memory of its past owner the first three planes were named after historical aircraft flown by Howard Hughes. The 727s were placed on more popular routes within the West such as Los Angeles-San Francisco and San Jose-Phoenix, as well as being used for charter service and longer distance flights to locations such as Calgary, Canada. Hughes Airwest would eventually operate seven of the 727 aircraft before its purchase by Republic Airlines in September 1980. Taxiing outbound toward Runway 12 Left for an afternoon departure is N722RW “Spirit of the Racer,” a Boeing 727-2M7, delivered new to Hughes Airwest on November 1, 1976.



February 1981*
In the years after deregulation, Air California experienced significant growth, so much so that the airline had to lease out additional airframes while waiting for delivery of its own aircraft, or trying to increase capacity for winter travel demand. During the early 1980s it was not uncommon to see unique airline colors based upon the lease agreement with a simple "Air California" title applied to the fuselage. This example, EI-ASG, which is taxiing toward Runway 30 Left, was a Boeing 737-248 on lease from Irish airline Aer Lingus for four months between January 1980 and April 1980.



February 1981*
With the early growth and rapid expansion of the high tech industry in Silicon Valley, San Jose was the most convenient airport for express cargo and packages. Airborne Express was founded in 1946, to fly fresh flowers from Hawaii to the US Mainland. After the deregulation of the air freight industry in 1978, Airborne Express merged with Midwest Air Charter and started to operate both Douglas DC-9 and NAMC YS-11 turboprops from a Wilmington, Ohio freight hub. San Jose was added to the carriers route map in 1981 with a daily flight to Wilmington. Seen parked on the cargo ramp and being loaded for an evening cargo flight is, N1284L, a Douglas DC-9-32, originally delivered to Delta Air Lines in 1969 and converted to a freighter by Airborne Express in December 1980.




July 1981
Denver, Colorado based Aspen Airways entered the California market in November 1979 to provide passenger service to the mountain city of Lake Tahoe. Three daily departures using the Convair 580 turboprop were scheduled providing the only connection from San Jose to the Lake Tahoe airport during this time. Seen turning onto Runway 30 Left for an afternoon departure is N73133, a Convair 580.



September 1981
In April 1981, Air California became AirCal and introduced a new four-tone color scheme representing a California sunrise and new beginning for the airline. San Jose continued to be a focus city with twenty-two daily departures to six destinations including Portland, Oregon and Reno, Nevada. Seen rolling for takeoff on Runway 30 is N464GB "Mariner I," a Boeing 737-293, delivered new to the airline in July 1968.



December 1981
Realizing the continued growth opportunities, Federal Express purchased the Boeing 727 freighter conversion in 1978 to replace the Dassault Falcon jets on larger volume markets. Because of the expanding technology and electronics presence in the San Jose-Santa Clara region, the airport in 1980 started to host the characteristic purple and crimson colored 727 freighters. Parked on the cargo ramp having been unloaded earlier in the morning is N103FE "Jennifer," a Boeing 727-22C.



January 1982*
With a name change to AirCal in 1981, and delivery of their new McDonnell Douglas MD-80s in May 1981, the airline was positioned to grow in the West Coast market. The new MD-80s would increase capacity on trunk routes, as well as allow for longer route length for planned expansion to the Pacific Northwest. Seen turning onto Runway 30 Left for an afternoon departure is, N477AC, a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 (DC-9-82), delivered new to AirCal on October 10, 1981.


April 1982*
After the purchase of Hughes Airwest by Republic Airlines in September 1980, the new airline would continue to serve the San Jose airport. Using both the Boeing 727 and Douglas DC-9, daily flights to Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Oakland as well as new non-stop service to Seattle which started in 1981. Seen lining up on the active Runway 30 Left for an afternoon departure is, N723RW, a Boeing 727-2M7, originally delivered to Hughes Airwest on December 1, 1976.


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