north central duck logo
home intro aircraft stories stations routes
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

As North Central flew into the '70s, another challenge developed which gripped the entire nation; a fuel shortage. The United States government began fuel rationing and allocation for all fuel users, including the airlines. North Central was now given a set amount of Jet-A per month with which to operate. Not only did the airline have to find a way to function under such restrictions, but would also be paying a lot more for that fuel. Within a few months in 1973, jet fuel went from 12 cents a gallon to 24 cents a gallon. Despite this, North Central continued to show a profit as it instituted an energy conservation program.

North Central also continued to grow as the DC-9 fleet rose to 20 by the end of 1974. New routes to Denver, New York, Boston and Atlanta were inaugurated and in 1976, a new model DC-9 was introduced. The DC-9-50 series stretched the capacity of the "nine" to 125. By 1976, the two DC-9 models along with 27 Convair 580s would serve 92 cities in 17 states and 2 Canadian provinces over a 12,800 mile route system.

click to see large map click to see large map click to see large map
click to see large map click to see large map click to see large map
click to see large map

The late 70s brought about a significant change in the way airlines were allowed to operate. The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 would allow carriers to more freely seek routes. North Central responded to this new environment in a big way by acquiring another fellow regional carrier known as Southern Airways on July 1, 1979. The new combined company was named Republic Airlines and would turn both local service airlines into a major airline force overnight. The rapid growth for the carrier would continue as Republic acquired Hughes Airwest in the fall of 1980. The airline's route system now reached from coast to coast and would fly on its own for six years before it was purchased by Northwest Airlines in 1986.

North Central Airlines, born in the small Wisconsin community of Clintonville, had survived against many obstacles to become a major player in the U.S. airline industry and made a significant contribution to the history of air transportation.

click to see story of formation flight
<<< previous intro page
home introduction aircraft stories stations routes special features
e-mail off site links site info