TBT (Throwback Thursday) in Aviation History: Boston-Maine Airways

A Pan Am Boeing 727-200 similar to the one used by Boston-Maine Airways. (Photo: Pedro Aragão [CC BY-SA 3.0GFDL, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Boston-Maine Airways was founded in March of 1999 as a feeder airline for the third incarnation of Pan American Airways. Guilford Transportation Industries, a company specializing in railroads, had purchased the Pan Am brand after the failure of the second incarnation of the company.

The company used the brand to launch the third Pan Am and followed with creating Boston-Maine Airways to operate as Pan Am Clipper Connection. The airline started operations with BAe Jetstream 31 turboprops. From a base in Portsmouth, N.H., in between Boston and Maine, the carrier operated services around New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Destinations included small cities such as Trenton, N.J. and Bedford, Mass.

In addition to services operated for Clipper Connection, charter services were operated from Atlantic City for Caesars Casino. At one time, six daily roundtrip flights were operated between Trenton and Bedford, as well as a daily roundtrip flight from Bedford to Portsmouth.

In 2004, Guilford Transportation, now renamed Pan Am Systems, closed down the third incarnation of Pan Am. The Boeing 727s that defunct the airline had operated were transferred to Boston-Maine Airways. With the new aircraft, Pan Am Clipper Connection expanded to sun destinations in Florida and the Caribbean. New cities included Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, San Juan, Aguadilla, Punta Cana and Santo Domingo.

Service began on the 727s in February 2005 and the company planned to expand from their northeast base. However, the airline was prevented from doing so when the federal government found irregularities in the financial information that the airline had submitted for expansion. This, compounded with a rise in fuel prices and a drop in passenger numbers, caused Clipper Connection to suspend scheduled operations from Sept. to November 2005.

The airline was able to rebound and announced scheduled service to Tunica, Miss. to Atlanta in March 2006. However, the service was short-lived and ended by October. The airline targeted Elmira, New York next for service to Baltimore, Bedford, and Trenton on the smaller Jetstreams and service began in August 2006. However, like service to Mississippi, it was short lived as New York service ended in fall 2007.

Additional service from Baltimore to established destinations like Trenton, Bedford and Portsmouth was started in March 2007. Again, though, the service would be short-lived, ending in August 2007. The airline was starting to falter and struggle, with federal authorities continuing an investigation into the airline for financial irregularities.

On Feb. 1, 2008, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an order for the revokement of Boston-Maine Airways’ operating certificate. The airline specifically cited a lack of financial fitness, lack of management oversight and a lack of compliance with federal and state laws.

The last flight for the airline was March 29, 2008, with the airline forced to shut down. The DOT stated that the airline had lied to them about financial data in order to operate larger aircraft, which lead to the revocation of the certificate.

The airline ended up parking its fleet at Concord Airport in Connecticut to be sold. The shut down brought the end to another incarnation of the Pan Am name. This time, however, it appears as though the name was grounded for good, as Boston-Maine Airways was the last airline to use it. However, the Pan Am name continues to live on in the northeast with Pan Am Systems using the name for their railroad.

Daniel Morley

Daniel Morley

Daniel has always had aviation in his life; from moving to the United States when he was two, to family vacations across the U.S., and back to his native England. He currently resides in South Florida and attends Nova Southeastern University, studying Human Factors in Aviation. Daniel has his Commercial Certificate for both land and sea, and hopes to one day join the major airlines.
Daniel Morley