AIR PROVENCE INTERNATIONAL (COMPAGNIE AIR PROVENCE INTERNATIONAL, S. A.): France (1985-1997). Air Provence, S. A. is formed by the J. P. Rozan travel group in 1985 at Aeroport de Marseilles-Provence to offer executive passenger charters from southern France to destinations throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, and the Middle East. The initial fleet comprises 1 BAe HS 125, 1 Gates Learjet 24, 1 Beech Super King Air 200, 3 Beech King Air 90s, 3 Beech B-55 Barons, 1 Piper PA-23 Aztec, 1 Cessna 172, and 1 each Aerospatiale Lama, Alouette III, Gazelle, and Ecureuil helicopters.
In 1986-1988, the fleet is upgraded by the addition of 3 Grumman Gulfstream G-159s, 2 more Super King Air 200s, and 1 more King Air 90. In 1989, President Jean-Pierre Rozan’s carrier begins to offer scheduled services to destinations in southern France. The fleet is further enhanced in 1990 by the acquisition of 7 additional G-159s and 2 more King Air 90s.
Company employment is increased 6.9% in 1991 to 156 and the leased fleet now includes 5 Beech King Air 90s, 3 Beech Super King Air 200s, 1 Dassault Falcon 20C, 10 Grumman G-159 Gulfstream Is, and 1 Gates Learjet 25C.
The corporate identity is changed and the carrier is renamed Air Provence International, S. A. Scheduled passenger and cargo services are now opened to stops in the Middle East. A total of 55,000 passengers are flown on the year and revenues total $18 million, a 12.5% increase over 1990.
To facilitate better service to its newer destinations, the carrier deletes 1 G-159 in 1992, replacing it with 2 Aerospatiale (Sud) Caravelle XIIs. In 1993-1994, President Rozan oversees a workforce of 110. His fleet now comprises 8 G-159s, 4 Beech Super King Air 200s, 1 King Air 100, 1 Gates Learjet 25C, and 12 Caravelle XIIs. During these years, the company becomes a subsidiary of EuroBelgian Airlines, S. A.
Just after landing at Lyon at the completion of a service from Rouen on June 28 of the latter year, the wing of a Gulfstream I, with 3 crew and 24 passengers, strikes the runway, forcing the aircraft to flip over and catch fire. Although the aircraft is damaged beyond repair, there are no fatalities.
The Caravelle fleet is reduced to 2 in 1995 as a pair of British Aerospace BAe (HS) 748s are acquired. Charters continue to be offered from Paris (CDG) throughout Europe, the Mideast, and Africa.
One more Caravelle is removed in early 1996 as operations continue to decline. When, in April, EuroBelgian Airlines, S. A. is purchased by Virgin Atlantic Airways, Ltd., its Air Provence subsidiary is also taken over. Employing its Caravelle XII, the company completes the final SE-210 European scheduled service in October.
Air Provence continues operations under its own name until November 1997. At that point, it is reformed and resumes flying as Virgin Express France, S. A.
AIR PUERTO RICO: United States (1986-1992). Air Puerto Rico is founded at San Juan in the late spring of 1986 to offer scheduled feeder flights in a code-sharing arrangement with World Airways. Equipped with 5 Shorts 330s, CEO Mark Morro’s new entrant begins revenues services on July 11, competing with the interline partners of American Airlines and Eastern Air Lines. World Express flights commence five days later from San Juan to Mayaguez and Ponce.
When World Airways ends its experiment with scheduled services in September, APR finds itself out on its own without the support enjoyed by its rivals.
Employing a pair of Douglas DC-9-10s leased from Emerald Airlines, charter service is begun on December 20 from Miami to La Ro-mana, Puerto Plata, and Santo Domingo, with continuing flights to San Juan. Traffic figures are not available, but are believed to be slight.
The intra-island Shorts flights cease on Puerto Rico in Janaury 1987, due largely to increased insurance costs. Unable to continue, the company files for Chapter XI bankruptcy in March. The carrier cannot successfully reorganize and remains dormant. It is finally ordered liquidated by the bankruptcy court in early 1992 under Chapter VII of the bankruptcy code.
AIR QUEENSLAND (PTY.), LTD.: Australia (1982-1988). In January 1982, Bush Pilots Airways (Pty.), Ltd., is renamed Air Queensland (Pty.), Ltd. and is given a new livery-white fuselage, yellow tails, black cheatline, titles, and markings.
The following year, 1983, sees bookings of 265,000.
In 1984, the carrier continues to serve a route network that includes 40 points in Queensland, plus Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory. Flights are also undertaken to a pair of holiday resorts-Lizard Island Lodge and Top of Australia Wilderness Lodge.
The fleet now comprises 2 Britten-Norman BN-2A Trislanders, 5 Fairchild Metro IIs, 3 Fokker F.27-200s, 5 de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otters, 5 Douglas DC-3s, and 6 Cessnas (2 each of the 310, 402, and 404).
A total of 274,320 passengers are carried on the year and a net A$117,385 profit is earned.
The employee population in 1985 is 319, a 3.9% increase, and orders are placed for 2 Avions de Transport Regional ATR42s. In March, the carrier becomes a subsidiary of Trans-Australian Airlines (Pty.), Ltd., when the national acquires 95% interest.
Passenger bookings dip 0.8% to 254,000 and freight is off by 4% to
917,000 FTKs. A A$1.96-million operating loss is suffered; however, the net profit is A$473,881.
One DC-3 and all 5 Fairchild Metro IIs are retired in 1986; just after delivery, in September, the 2 ATR42-320s are leased to Air Pacific, Ltd. (2).
In every way, the situation continues to deteriorate in 1987. In July, the 2 ATR42-320s are returned and leased to JAT Yugoslav Airlines. Operations from the Brisbane hub are halted; operating only from the Cairns hub, the carrier is forced to stop flying in April 1988.
In 1990, the regional is combined with Resort Airlines (Pty.), Ltd. to form a new third-level feeder carrier, Australian Regional Queensland (Pty.), Ltd.
AIR RAINBOW, LTD.: Namimo, British Columbia, Canada; Year Founded 1992. Murray LaSage forms this small passenger and cargo charter operation at Nanimo, British Columbia, in 1992. Revenue operations commence with 1 Beech 18, 4 de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beavers, and 2 Cessna 185s. Services continue.
AIR RAROTONGA: P. O. Box 79, Rarotonga, Cook Islands; Phone 682 22890; Fax 682 20979; Http://www. ck/edairaro. htm; Code GZ; Year Founded 1977. Founded in December 1977, this carrier initiates sight-seeing and charter Cook Island service with a Cessna 337 on July 7, 1978. After four years of low-key operations, the company is reorganized and refinanced in 1982, receiving new equipment and beginning scheduled interisland operations.
Daily nonstop flights are now undertaken from Rarotonga to Aitu-taki and in 1983, air taxi flights are undertaken from Rarotonga to Penthyn and Rakahanga every two weeks. Passenger boardings during this period grow steadily from 6,241 in 1981 to 9,472 in 1983. Later in the decade, the 12-employee company inaugurates services to Manihiki, Penrhyn, and Rakahanga in the northern Cook Islands with its fleet of 1 each Beech B-80 Queenair, Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain, and Cessna 172.
By the early 1990s, Managing Director Evan P. Smith’s 52-employee airline has grown to a point where the single-engine equipment is replaced by 2, later 3, leased Embraer EMB-110P1 Bandeirantes.
Airline employment stands at 50 in 1998-1999. Destinations visited include Atju, Mangaia, Manihiki, Mauke, Mitiaro, Penhyn, and Pukapuka.
In July 2000, the carrier receives a former British Midland Commuter, Ltd. SAAB 340A under lease from its manufacturer. Christened the Ewan F Smith, it replaces a pair of EMB-110 Bandeirantes and is the first plane of its type outfitted with a life raft. Under an interline agreement with Air New Zealand, Ltd., the SAAB flies regularly to the Cook Island points of Aitutaki, Manihiki, and Penrhyn and also makes a weekly run to Niue.
AIR RESORTS AIRLINES: United States (1975-1996). Privately owned ARA is established at Carlsbad, California, in March 1975 as an air taxi operator and flying school. In 1979, the company establishes an airline division and undertakes intermittent scheduled flights linking its base with Burbank, Los Angeles, Oxnard, San Diego, and Santa Barbara, and Las Vegas with Arizona’s Grand Canyon. The company begins to assemble one of the largest all-Convair CV-440 Metropolitan fleets in the world. Many of these are employed on charter and contract service operations.
Late in 1982, the former American Airlines subsidiary American Inter-Island, which had operated scheduled flights in the Caribbean, is purchased, together with its 5 CV-440s, and merged. The Caribbean services are resumed on December 15.
Eleven CV-440s are on hand in 1983 as significantly more charter services are introduced and scheduled flights are cut back. Operations in the Virgin Islands are wound up and the ex-AII CV-440s are flown to California.
Scheduled service is abandoned entirely on April 1, 1984.
Flight 953, a CV-440 with 5 crew and 39 passengers (members of the East Tennessee State University basketball team from Johnson City) and chartered by Tennessee Valley Airways, loses power to both engines after takeoff from Jasper, Alabama, on December 16. An emergency landing is made, during which the tires blow out, causing the plane to veer off the runway into a ditch. Although there are no fatalities, 9 players are injured and the Convair must be written off.
The charter carrier voluntarily grounds its aircraft on December 20 and upon inspection the next day, the FAA suspends the company’s operating certificate for safety violations.
The operating certificate is reinstated in early January 1985 and the company orders several of its Metropolitans converted into Convair Super 580s.
Charter and contract service operations are undertaken in 1986-1987 and in 1988, 4 Convairs are wet-leased to Resort Commuter Airlines. Consideration is given to resumption of scheduled services. Planning and preparation takes all of 1989.
After a six-year hiatus, regularly scheduled passenger revenue flights are resumed on May 14, 1990 from San Diego to Tucson. In December, the company merges with Air L. A.; however, both airlines are allowed to operate separately under their previous identities. Scheduled cargo service is started from Tucson, but is abandoned in January 1991.
By 1992, the company is one of the largest Convair operators in the world, flying 6 CV-440s, 4 CV-580s, and 1 CV-340. Merger discussions are held with an unnamed competitor and revenues reach $4 million.
Operations continue apace in 1993-1995, during which years the fleet is altered to include 3 CV-340s, 5 CV-440s, and 4 CV-580s.
Unable to maintain economic viability, the company closes its doors in 1996.
AIR RESPONSE/ORLANDO JETS: 469B Herndon Ave., Hangar 72, Orlando Executive Airport, Orlando, Florida 32803, United States; Phone (407) 898-0098; Fax (407) 898-0520; Year Founded 1986. Specializing in 24-hour quick response service, Air Response is established at Orlando Executive Airport in 1986 to offer passenger charters throughout the U. S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. Revenue flights begin and continue.
By 1998-2000, a flight staff of 9 full-time and 2 part-time pilots is employed to operate the company’s Learjet 25B and Learjet 35A from Florida. A larger base has also been established at Albany County Airport in New York. From there, Manager Don Jones flies 2 Learjet 25s and 1 each Learjet 24, Learjet 35A, Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain, Cessna 340, and Mitsubishi Mu-2.
AIR REUNION, S. A.: Reunion (1989-1990). Affiliated with Air France and Heli Union, S. A., Air Reunion, S. A. is formed in 1989 to succeed Reunion Air Service, S. A. New General Manager Michael Pip-ineau’s fleet comprises 1 British Aerospace BAe 748-B2, 1 Piper PA-31310 Navajo, and 1 Fokker F.28-1000, the latter leased from TAT (French Regional Airlines, S. A.).
Regional charters and contract service flights are undertaken into East Africa and throughout the western Indian Ocean area. In addition, weekly scheduled services are maintained between St. Denis and Dza-oudzi, in the Comoros Islands. Other destinations visited include Mayotte, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Noroni, Takatave, and Najunga.
Enplanements total 26,570 in 1990. Revenues are MF 105,000, expenses are MF 99,244, and the net profit is MF 5,670. Late in the year, the carrier is renamed Air Austral, S. A.