|Founded||20 July 1931 (as Boston-Maine Airways)|
|Commenced operations||19 November 1940 (as Northeast Airlines)|
|Ceased operations||1 August 1972 (merged with Delta Air Lines)|
|Headquarters||Boston, Massachusetts, U.S|
The airline began as Boston-Maine Airways, founded as a Pan Am contract carrier on July 20, 1931, by the Boston and Maine Railroad and Maine Central Railroad, flying from Boston to Bangor via Portland. It flew only sporadically until August 11, 1933, when it began contract service for National Airways, an agreement which lasted four years. The name Northeast Airlines was adopted on November 19, 1940.
During World War II Northeast pioneered regular transatlantic service for the military under contract from the U.S. Army Air Forces. After the war they applied for authorization to operate passenger service across the Atlantic but were stymied by the Civil Aeronautics Board, which awarded the routes to Pan American World Airways and TWA.
The January 1945 OAG shows Northeast flights to seven cities, ranging from Boston to Moncton. There were just four departures a day from Boston and four return flights - nothing else.
Northeast's Convair 240s and DC-3s did not fly south or west of New York/Newark until 1956 when they added flights to Washington National. In 1957 they added three DC-6B "Sunliner" nonstops from La Guardia to Miami.
A series of crashes damaged the airline's image:
- 11 Aug 1949 — Portland, Maine — Convair CV-240-13
- 30 Nov 1954 — Berlin, New Hampshire — Douglas DC-3
- 01 Feb 1957 — Riker's Island, New York — Douglas DC-6A
- 15 Sep 1957 — New Bedford, Massachusetts — Douglas DC-3
- 15 Aug 1958 — Nantucket, Massachusetts — Convair CV-240-2
- 25 Oct 1968 — Lebanon, New Hampshire — Fairchild-Hiller FH-227C
Northeast ordered ten turboprop Vickers Viscounts in the late 1950s and used them until financial problems in the early 1960s forced the company to return them to the manufacturer. Northeast leased a single Boeing 707 from TWA for 1959-60 winter flights to Florida. In 1960 Northeast leased six Convair 880s and flew them to Florida for several years.
In 1965 the airline was bought by Storer Broadcasting, who tried to rejuvenate Northeast with a new marketing campaign and new aircraft. Northeast ordered a fleet of Boeing 727s for their Florida routes, and Douglas DC-9 twinjets and Fairchild FH-227 turboprops for shorter routes. These "Yellowbirds" had a new two-tone yellow and white livery. In 1966 Northeast was the launch customer for the Boeing 727-200, which they began flying in December 1967. Except for Florida their network was all north and east of Washington National until 1969 when they added three 727 nonstops Miami to Los Angeles, with Fort Lauderdale getting a short-lived LAX nonstop soon after. (Fuel stops were sometimes needed.)
Despite a modern fleet and the Yellowbird marketing campaign, Northeast remained at a disadvantage against larger competitors such as Eastern Airlines and National Airlines. By the early 1970s Northeast's financial condition was such that they sought a merger or a sale. On August 1, 1972 Northeast merged with Delta Air Lines. Northeast's contribution to Delta included access to the Boston market, which Delta did not serve under the then-regulated airline industry. Delta added the Boeing 727 to their fleet, a type they did not operate prior to absorbing Northeast. Delta used this tri-jet airliner as the workhorse of their fleet during the 1970s and 1980s.
- IATA Code: NE
Northeast Airlines served the following destinations:
- District of Columbia
- Auburn/Lewiston (Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport)*
- Augusta (Augusta State Airport)
- Bangor (Bangor International Airport)
- Bar Harbor (Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport)
- Caribou (Caribou Municipal Airport)*
- Houlton (Houlton International Airport)*
- Machias/Calais (Machias Valley Airport)*
- Millnocket (Millinocket Municipal Airport)*
- Portland (Portland International Jetport)
- Presque Isle (Northern Maine Regional Airport at Presque Isle)
- Rockland (Knox County Regional Airport)
- Waterville (Waterville Robert LaFleur Airport)
- Boston (Logan International Airport)
- Fall River (Fall River Municipal Airport)*
- Fitchburg (Fitchburg Municipal Airport)*
- Hyannis (Barnstable Municipal Airport)
- Lawrence (Lawrence Municipal Airport)*
- Nantucket (Nantucket Memorial Airport)
- New Bedford (New Bedford Regional Airport)
- Springfield (Metropolitan Airport)*
- Worcester (Worcester Regional Airport)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
An asterisk (*) denotes this airport is no longer served by scheduled air service.
- Douglas DC-3
- Douglas DC-9-15 and DC-9-31
- Convair 880
- Convair 990
- Boeing 707 - leased from Trans World Airlines (TWA)
- Boeing 727-95 and 727-295
- Douglas DC-6B
- Convair 240
- Fairchild Hiller FH-227
- Vickers Viscount 798 - operated until repossessed by Vickers
- Bristol Britannia - ordered but never flown
- Hawker Sidley Trident HS121
Accidents and incidents
- On 30 November 1954, Northeast Airlines Flight 792 crashed on approach to Berlin Regional Airport, with two fatalities.
- On 1 February 1957, Northeast Airlines Flight 823 crashed shortly after take off from New York City's LaGuardia Airport, with 20 fatalities.
- On 15 September 1957, Northeast Airlines Flight 285 crashed on approach to New Bedford Regional Airport, killing 12 of the 24 passengers and crew.
- On 15 August 1958, Northeast Airlines Flight 258 crashed on approach to Nantucket Memorial Airport, killing 25 of the 34 passengers and crew.
- On 15 November 1961, Vickers Viscount N6592C was written off when it collided with Douglas DC-6 N8228H of National Airlines after landing at Logan International Airport. The DC-6 had started to take off without receiving clearance.
- On 25 October 1968, Northeast Airlines Flight 946 crashed on approach to Lebanon Municipal Airport, killing 32 of the 42 passengers and crew.
- "Northeast Airlines June 1, 1969 System Timetable". DepartedFlights.com. Retrieved 6 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2 October 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2 Octotember 2009. Check date values in: