SUN WEST AIRLINES: United States (1979-1985). Scottsdale, Arizona-based Scottsdale Charter establishes a scheduled airline division in early summer 1979. Employing 2 Piper PA-31-350 Piper Navajo Chieftains and 3 PA-34 Senecas, passenger and cargo revenue flights are inaugurated in July to Phoenix as well as Durango, Colorado.
Routes are stretched to the New Mexico cities of Farmington and Albuquerque in 1980.
Customer bookings for the first full year of service reach 4,487; 30,603 pounds of cargo are also flown.
The company fleet is increased to eight aircraft in 1981, including 2 Senecas, 5 Chieftains, and 1 Cheyenne II. Flight 104, a PA-31-350 with four aboard crashes at Colorado’s Durango-LaPlata County Airport on December 31; there are no survivors.
Enplanements for President John R. Walters’ carrier jump an unbelievable 480.8% to reach 26,050; freight is also up strongly, 149.4% to
Company headquarters are transferred to Phoenix in 1982 as passenger boardings accelerate to 34,970. Cargo bounces upward 46.8% to 112,054 pounds.
Customer bookings rise 22% in 1983 to 42,658 while freight gains by 73.3% to 194,169 pounds.
Bookings climb to 41,650 in 1983 and in 1984, the fleet comprises 4 Beech 99s and 1 Navajo Chieftain. New destinations visited since startup now include Flagstaff, Gallup, Winslow, and Yuma. In October, five-times-per-day service is inaugurated between Phoenix and Prescott; three-times-per-day from Phoenix to Bullhead City/Laughlin; and twice daily from Phoenix to Las Vegas.
Passenger boardings advance 64% to 62,874 and cargo jumps 28.6% to 221,000 pounds. Overexpanded and under capitalized, the carrier, having failed to find new financing, is forced to file for Chapter XI bankruptcy in March 1985. It is unable to reorganize.
SUN WEST INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES: 3550 Laughlin View Drive, Bullhead City, Arizona, 86429, United States; Phone (520) 754-1119; Year Founded 2000. Sun West International is established at Bullhead City in the summer of 2000 to provide lift for gamblers visiting the Harrah’s casinos at New Orleans and at the new gambling mecca at Laughlin, Nevada, just across the Colorado River. Employing a pair of Boeing 737-236As wet-leased from Pace Airlines, the company begins revenue operations in July. Charters for professional sports teams, particularly those from the National Hockey League, are also arranged.
The Des Moines Register will report on March 10, 2001, that Sun West has offered to purchase certain assets of AccessAir, which had gone out of business on February 27, for $750,000. Aircraft spare parts, office equipment, and assorted other materials would be included if such an arrangement were completed.
SUN WORLD AIRLINES: United States (1971-1972). Sun World Airlines is set up at Burbank, California, in 1971 to provide scheduled passenger and cargo commuter flights with a fleet of Cessna 402s. Revenue flights linking the company’s base with Phoenix, Prescott, and Kingman in Arizona are inaugurated, but are maintained for less than a year.
SUNAIR EXPRESS:Redding Municipal Airport, 3770 Flight Avenue, Redding, California 96002, United States; Phone (530) 2260717; Fax (530) 226-8462; Http://www. iflysunair. com; Year Founded 2000. Andrew Krochmalny establishes SunAir Express at Redding in early summer 2000 to provide scheduled commuter service to Sacramento. Employing a pair of Cessna 208 Caravans, thrice-daily roundtrips commence in August. Two flights continue onto Oakland and back.
Early in 2001, Sacramento County will demand that the start-up provide $150 million in liability insurance to use the commuter terminal at Sacramento International Airport. President Krochmalny will inform the Sacramento Bee on March 8 that the added $25,000 premium cost may put him out of business.
SUNBELT AIRLINES (1): United States (1979-1980). Sunbelt (1) is set up at Rome, Georgia, in 1979 to provide scheduled daily roundtrip shuttles to Atlanta. Although Cessna lightplane revenue frequencies are duly inaugurated, they cannot be maintained far into 1980.
SUNBELT AIRLINES (2): United States (1982-1984). In March 1982, Camden (Arkansas)-based Jamaire is renamed Sunbelt Airlines. Scheduled third-level passenger services continue to be offered linking the company’s base with the Arkansas communities of El Dorado, Fayetteville, and Fort Smith as well as Memphis, Dallas (DFW), New Orleans, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and the cities of Jackson, Laurel/ Hattiesburg, Meridian, and Tupelo, Mississippi.
The workforce is increased 36.4% during the year to 75 and the fleet now comprises 2 Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirantes and 3 Cessna 402s.
Enplanements for the year total 29,065, a 47.6% boost, and cargo grows 17.1% to 96,000 pounds.
Airline employment in 1983 is 130, a 62.5% boost, and 2 Shorts 360s are added.
Passenger boardings accelerate 23.3% to 35,823.
The carrier is unable to weather the personal bankruptcy of its former president, owner of more than half of Sunbelt’s stock, and shuts down on October 9, 1984.
SUNBIRD AIR: United States (1978-1986). Established by M. W. “Dudley” Bourne at Murray-Calloway County Airport in Murray, Kentucky, in 1978, Sunbird initially undertakes nonscheduled air taxi flights linking its base with Nashville, Tennessee, employing two PA-28 Chero-kees. Enplanements continue during the remainder of the decade.
The decision is taken just after New Year’s Day 1980 to set up a scheduled airline division. Daily roundtrip frequencies are inaugurated in March to Memphis via Paris and Nashville.
Low traffic and high expenses in the years of recession following the 1981 PATCO air traffic controllers’ strike, causes the small regional to contract services until it is left with only routes from Murray to Memphis and Paris, Tennessee.
Unable to continue, the carrier shuts its doors on March 28, 1986.
SUNBIRD AIRLINES (1): United States (1980). Sunbird Airlines (1) is set up at Nashville, Tennessee, in the early fall of 1980 to provide daily roundtrip air taxi flights up to Murray, Kentucky. Piper PA-32 Cherokee Six revenue shuttles are inaugurated on October 1, but are maintained for only one quarter.
SUNBIRD AIRLINES (2): United States (1979-1985). Organized by Ralph Quinlan at Denver/Charlotte, North Carolina, in early 1979, Sun-bird inaugurates scheduled Cessna 402 daily service on November 15 over a route from Hickory to Rocky Mount via Charlotte and Raleigh. The fleet comprises 1 Cessna 404 Titan and 5 Cessna 402Cs are acquired; orders remain outstanding for 2 more 402Cs and fresh orders are placed for 10 Beech 99s. The operations and maintenance centers are established at Little Mountain Airport at Maiden.
Enplanements by the 32-employee company reach 6,000.
During 1980, flights, many replacement services for Piedmont Airlines, are launched to Atlanta, Tri-Cities, Fayetteville, Wilmington, Kinston, Greenville, and Norfolk.
Passenger boardings climb to 41,170.
Traffic increases steadily; 77,250 passengers are enplaned in 1981. President Quinlan’s fleet comprises 8 Cessna 402s, 2 Cessna 404 Titans, and 2 Beech 99s.
The payroll is cut 22.3% in 1982 to 101 employees and the fleet includes 8 99s, 6 Cessna 402s, and 1 Cessna 404 Titan. These 15 aircraft fly over a route system that now includes markets not only in North Carolina, but in South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee as well.
Late in the year, an interline agreement is signed with Piedmont Airlines, whereby the small regional will provide feed from Winston-Salem to the nation’s Charlotte hub.
Customer bookings swing upward by 3.6% to 88,453.
Atlantic Southeast Airlines official Roy Hagerty becomes president in June 1983, merging the company with his Air Transportation Holding Company. On June 22, the carrier merges Atlanta Express Airline Corporation.
Passenger traffic is off by 7.5% with bookings down to 81,189.
On July 11, 1984 , the company is reacquired by new owners and renamed Sunbird Airlines 1984, Inc. The new owners are mostly private investors, including Roy and Harry Hagerty, along with minority interest from Air Transportation Holding Company (Air T), which now also controls Mountain Air Cargo. Company headquarters are moved from Hickory, North Carolina, to new offices near Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
Passenger boardings dip again, down 17.4% to 67,062.
When both American Airlines and Eastern Air Lines move to acquire commuter affiliates at Charlotte, Piedmont Airlines works out an arrangement with Sunbird, which becomes Sunbird, the “Piedmont Commuter” on May 1, 1985.
En route from Hickory Municipal Airport to Charlotte on an August 28 training flight, a Beech C99 with three crew strikes a row of trees and utility pole, which cause it to crash 11 km. E of Hickery; there are no survivors.
To avoid continuing confusion with Murray, Kentucky-based Sun-bird, the carrier changes its name to CCAir on January 1, 1986.
SUNBIRD AIRLINES (PTY.), LTD.: Australia (1982-1991). A division of Helitrans Australia (Pty.), Ltd., Sunbird is formed at Cairns in 1982 to provide scheduled fixed-wing commuter flights into northern Queensland. A fleet is assembled comprising 2 Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftains and 1 Piper PA-23 Aztec plus Bell 206B JetRanger helicopters leased as required from the parent. Scheduled services are inaugurated to Aurukun Mission, Croydon, Delta Downs, Dorunda Station, Georgetown, Koolatah, Kowanyama, Normanton, and Robinhood.
Within four years, Managing Director Bruce L. Evans’s carrier has added Mareeba and the Torres Straits Islands to its route network. The fleet is also increased and while the Aztec is gone, it is replaced by 3 Pi-latus-Britten-Norman PBN-2 Islanders, 3 Cessna 310s, 2 Cessna 404s, 5 Cessna 421s, 1 PA-31-310 Navajo, and 1 Partenavia P-66B.
In 1990, the carrier is purchased into the Norfolk Airlines Group and new Managing Director Andrew Hoar’s fleet is significantly reduced. It now includes only 2 Islanders, 5 Cessna 310s, 3 Cessna 404s, and 3 Cessna 421s. Unable to maintain economic viability in an increasingly competitive market, the carrier does not see its tenth anniversary, being declared insolvent and forced to close in the spring of 1991.
SUNBIRD AIRWAYS: 5456 Hoffner Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32812, United States; Phone (813) 530-1515; Fax (813) 530-4082; Year Founded 1993. Sunbird is established at Orlando in 1993 to provide regional passenger charter and inclusive-tour services. Revenue flights commence with two each Douglas DC-9-31s and McDonnell Douglas MD-81s.
The fleet is altered in 1994 to include 2 B-727-225As and 1 each B-727-222 and B-727-230A. New York, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Dallas (DFW) continue as the company’s principal destinations.
Operations continue apace in 1995-1999.
SUNBIRD AVIATION, LTD.: Kenya (1979-1985). Chairman M. Hemstead and Managing Director R. D. Knight are appointed by the Cassman Brown Group to organize Sunbird at Nairobi in July 1979 following the merger of the corporation’s Caspair Air Charter, Ltd. with Sunbird Charters, Ltd.
The initial fleet comprises 2 Douglas DC-3s, 2 Cessna 404 Titans, 2 Beech King Air 200s, 2 Britten-Norman BN-2 Islanders, 2 Piper PA-31310 Navajos, 2 Cessna 402s, 1 Cessna 310, 3 Partenavia P-68Bs, and 2 Beech B-58 Barons.
Scheduled passenger and cargo services are initiated from the capital’s Wilson Airport to Kisumu, Keekorok, Mara Serena, Musiara, and Kichwa Tembo. Charter flights are also undertaken to destinations in the Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, and Tanzania.
During the early 1980s, attention is given to the tourist-safari trade and twice-daily scheduled services are launched to lodges and wildlife reserves.
A DC-3 with 2 crew and 36 passengers is destroyed as the result of a bad landing at Kilaguni on August 15, 1987; there are no fatalities.
In November, the carrier is merged with Wilkenair, Ltd. to form Air Kenya Aviation, Ltd.
SUNDANCE HELICOPTERS: McCarran International Airport, 5596 Haven Street, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89119, United States; Phone (702) 736-0606; Fax 702) 736-4107; Http://www. helicoptour. com; Year Founded 1984. This concern is established at Las Vegas in 1984 under the name Helicopter Services of Nevada to provide FAA Part 135 charter flights, as well as aerial tours of the local region, including Las Vegas at night, Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon.
The company takes its present name in 1993. At this point, the company also begins to engage in external load and contract service work, as well as flights on behalf of television stations, film crews, and government agencies. By the end of the decade, Sundance is operating over 5,600 flights annually, which transport in excess of 28,000 customers.
Jim Granquist is president in 2000 and oversees a 28-person workforce. The fleet comprises 2 Euocopter AS-350B A-Stars, 3 Bell 206B JetRangers, 3 Bell 206L LongRangers, and 2 Beta R-22s.
SUNDORPH AERONAUTICAL CORPORATION (SAC): United States (1969-1984). Eiler Sundorph, owner of the established FBO at Cleveland’s Lakefront Airport, creates an airline division during the first quarter of 1969 to provide scheduled passenger and cargo flights to Akron and Columbus. Employing a Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar, Sun-dorph inaugurates daily roundtrips on March 17. Traffic does not materialize and the scheduled offering is suspended in 1970. Charters are, however, offered over the next 12 years.
During the late spring of 1983, the decision is taken to resume scheduled services to the destinations visited in 1969 plus Detroit. Daily revenue frequencies commence on June 1 and are maintained with a fleet of 4 Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftains.
In April 1984, the FAA grounds the carrier for maintenance violations and its certification is revoked.
SUNDTAIR, A. S.: P. O. Box 31, Gardemon 2061, Norway; Phone 47 63929660; Fax 47 63929670; Year Founded 1996. Sundtair is established at Gardemon in 1996 to provide executive and small group air taxi services to destinations in Norway and throughout Europe. By 2000, the company employs 14 full-time pilots and operates 1 Beech Super King Air 200 and 3 Cessna Citation III bizjets.
SUNEXPRESS AIRLINES MALDIVES, LTD.: 2nd Floor, 35 Bo-duthakurufaanu Magu, P. O. Box 20104, Male, 20-02, Maldives; Phone 960 320 001; Fax 960 320 007; Http://www. sunexpressair. com; Year Founded 1997. The team that operates Hummingbird Airways, Ltd. establishes this new start-up at Male in October 1997. Shareholding is divided between UB Group (60%), Air Beach Resorts (30%), and Kit Chambers (10%). HA Chief Pilot Capt. Garth Duncan is named flight operations manager.
The new company has a long 17-month gestation period, during which time Hummingbird is submerged into the new carrier and the Chambers shareholding is taken over by the surviving partners. Employing 1 each leased Yakovlev Yak-40, Mil Mi-8 helicopter, and 2 float-equipped de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300s, revenue flights finally commence on May 27, 1999.
Service is maintained during the remainder of the year; however, the Yak-40 is quickly replaced with a DHC-6-100; this Twin Otter is also float-equipped. The carrier now begins to emphasize seaplane service between Male Airport and the outer islands.
A total of 41 workers are employed at the beginning of 2000.
SUNFLOWER AIRLINES, LTD.: P. O. Box 9452, Sunflower Hangar, Nadi Airport, Fiji; Phone 679 723 555; Fax 679 720 085; Http://www. fiji. to; Code PI; Year Founded 1980. Mike Brook and Don Collingwood form this commuter at Nadi in May 1980, with the latter becoming managing director. Having obtained a Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander, a twice-weekly service is opened in July to the resort Castaway Taveuni. A route is also opened from Nadi to Nauson Airport at Suva, on the island of Viti Levu.
Frequencies on the resort route are increased in 1981 to four per week. During the first full year, a total of 7,000 passengers are carried. Replacement flights are begun in 1982 on several interisland routes abandoned by Fiji Air, Ltd. Charter flights are undertaken to a variety of local destinations and boardings soar to 13,000.
Two additional BN-2s are acquired from Malaysian Airlines System, Ltd. (MAS) in late fall 1983 and enter service during Christmas week.
Enplanements grow to 26,000. As additional northern routes are flown in 1984, a Lycoming-engine de Havilland DH 114 (Riley) Heron 2 is purchased from Tarawa’s Air Tungaru; christened Belo Vula (White Heron), it is placed in service at year’s end.
A typhoon strikes the carrier’s Nadi facilities in January 1985, damaging or destroying all aircraft except the BN-2 Bui Nigone (Old Fashioned Lady), under repair in New Zealand. Also damaged are a terminal air bridge and the company’s hangar, which receives severe damage.
With the Heron repaired and a replacement Islander located and christened AdiMamanuca (Plantation Girl), flight operations resume on a reduced basis in March. The remainder of the year is spent in upgrading the fleet and route network.
The fleet in 1986 comprises 2 BN-2s, 2 Riley Herons, and 1 Piper Aztec. Scheduled boardings reach the 5,000-per-month level by summer and charter flights are accelerated.
While on final approach to Nadi after a flight from Savu Savu on December 27, the right flap of a DH 114 Riley Heron 2B with 2 crew and 12 passengers jams, forcing the aircraft to roll over and smash into the ground short of the runway (11 dead).
Two years later in 1988, Managing Director Collingwood’s fleet has been upgraded by the addition of two more Islanders, the Lewa Sewa (Little Lady) and Adi Yasawe (Yasawa Lady), and a Piper PA-31 Navajo Chieftain; one Riley Heron is retired. The last Riley Heron is retired in 1989 and is replaced by a Beech B80 Queen Air.
A traffic boom in 1990 results in reinstatement of the Riley Heron Belo Vula and the acquisition of one more Islander, the Adi Makutu (Determined Lady) and two de Havilland Canada DHC-6-210 Twin Otters, which are christened Spirit of the North and Spirit of the West, respectively.
By 1991, Donald I. Collingwood, now chairman, oversees a company that employs 60 workers. Enplanements total 122,000, including 18,000 taken on charters.
The fleet in 1992 includes 2 Twin Otters, 1 Riley Heron returned to duty, 5 Islanders, and 1 Avions de Transport Regional ATR42-300 leased from Air Pacific, Ltd. Also available is a Cessna 152, the Ratu Ropate (Sir Robert) and a Cessna 172N, the Ratu Ian (Sir Ian).
Customer bookings rise to 140,000, including 20,000 charters.
Operations continue in 1993-1994. Enplanements in 1995 total 148,274.
Airline employment is increased by 22.7% in 1996 to 135 and the fleet now includes 3 de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otters, 6 Islanders, 1 Shorts 330, and 1 Beech 80 Queen Air.
Passenger boardings soar 16.7% to 178,000.
Flights continue in 1997-1998. During the latter year, enplanements total 190,000 and revenues of F$7.7 million are generated.
Scheduled destinations visited in 1999-2000 include Castaway, Kan-davu, Labasa, Laucata Island, Malolotailai, Mana Island, Rotuma Island, Savusavu, Suva, and Taveuni. During these years, the employee total reaches 175, a second Shorts 330-200 is acquired, and Sunflower carries 60% of all visitors to Fiji and 40% of local traffic.
SUNJET AVIATION: 1604 Hangar Road, No. 333, Orlando Sanford Airport, Sanford, Florida 32773, United States; Phone (407) 328-8440; Fax (407) 328-8442; Http://www. gentech. net/sunjet; Code JX; Year Founded 1990. Sunjet Aviation is established at Orlando Sanford Airport in 1990 to offer worldwide executive passenger charters. Revenue flights duly commence and continue under the marketing name “Sunjet International Airlines.”
By 2000, General Manager Jimmy Watkins employs 3 full-time and 6 part-time pilots to operate the company’s Learjet 35A and Cessna 501 Citation I/SP.