Soon after the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 was signed, commercial flight operations (especially those of U.S. domestic airlines) began to change. New companies operating large and small airliners popped up, older, established companies went bankrupt and ceased operations, and many less profitable companies merged with others for financial considerations. The major U.S. airlines adopted the hub-and-spoke system of connecting flights, searching for a profit.
The Boston Logan International Airport, Massachusetts’ largest and busiest, bucked the trend a bit. As busy as it was, it did not become a hub for a major airline. Several companies fortified their operations, operating what is sometimes called a “focus” city schedule, but the market share was spread between the half-dozen national and a handful of regional airlines. With the New England market made up of a dozen or so small to moderate cities, air taxi and commuter services grew too.
Boston was a relatively short distance from New York City and a short jet flight to other newly-established hubs. Smaller jets gave way to mainline jets, with these larger jets like DC-9s, MD8-s and B-727s replacing piston engine and Electra aircraft on Shuttle services and new city to city pairings.
Here’s a look at some of the airlines and their jet equipment used at Boston between the late 1980s and early 2000s. Very few of these airlines, or the aircraft they flew, are still active today, victims of the waves of economic changes of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, and of the constant technological improvements of commercial aircraft. Look back every few weeks, there’ll be more photos of classic airliners from Boston – from props to jetliners – and from surrounding New England and New York airports taken during the 1980s and 1990s.