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North Central Airlines


1- the beginning
2- start of service
3- DC-3s arrive
4- upgrade to convairs
5- DC-9s and 580s
6- the late 60s
7- expansion and merger

At the end of the 50s, North Central was in need of more and larger equipment which culminated in the purchase of 5 Convair 340s from Continental Airlines. While other local service carriers were upgrading to turbine powered aircraft, Mr. Carr chose the Convair because it could carry more passengers and cargo than its turboprop counterpart at less than half the purchase price. This decision would make the Convair the backbone of the fleet for years to come.

By 1960, North Central was the #1 local service carrier, serving 90 cities and reaching the 1 million passenger mark. The airline had grown outward to more cities in Michigan, Ohio, north to Canada and west into the Dakotas.

Many programs were introduced to help prevent difficulties in operations. One was designated "Operation Cold Front" which provided solutions to dealing with one of the most hostile weather environments in the world. Another was the "Presidential Advisor" program, designed to smooth out any problems at the stations throughout the system. This was accomplished by recruiting leading citizens from each city served in order to foster good public relations and promote North Central Airlines.

In 1963, North Central embarked on a side adventure into South America. Hal Carr sent a contingent of his younger executives down to Bolivia to assist the beleaguered national airline, Lloyd Aereo Boliviano. The two year U.S. government assisted contract was designed to help turn around the troubled carrier and would bring in $800,000 for North Central. In addition, Mr. Carr thought the project would provide a great training ground for his management people.

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