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(Photo: Devin Durant)

TBT (Throwback Thursday) in Aviation History: AccessAir

Founded in 1998, AccessAir lived a tragically short life effectively brought down by financial problems. Based in Des Moines, IA, the airline connected some major cities with smaller cities within and near the state of Iowa with their limited fleet.

Flights were launched in 1999, a few months following commencement of their operations. The airline built itself on the goal to provide low fares to local markets, and subsequently, many of the company’s investors were also local.

Access Air 737

AccessAir operated to LaGuardia from Peoria, Illinois or the Quad Cities, and later expanded to include service to Los Angeles via Colorado Springs. With an incredibly limited route network, the airline operated coast to coast flights from LaGuardia to LAX via their few destinations in Iowa and Illinois, which usually involved a quick turn around for fuel.

As for their fleet, AccessAir operated only Boeing 737-200s, and at the time of their downfall, had four aircraft total.

Though the carrier offered low cost and discounted tickets, they continued to struggle with passenger counts. Often times, their aircraft were less than half full. This was the start of a financial crisis. Following a brief nine months of operation, the struggling airline filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 1999. The airline had quickly racked up $30 million in losses.

In the spring of 2000, the company was stabilized again, and flights resumed as normal in November of the same year. Yet again, low passenger loads plagued the airline, forcing it to shut down indefinitely in 2001.


  • Ashley is currently a senior in high school and plans on pursuing a career in aviation or journalism. Her favorite airplanes include the Boeing 777, 737MAX, and Airbus A350. She enjoys taking flights on various airlines to different airports and planespotting at her local airports.

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