Central Airlines

Central Airlines was a regional airline providing service in Texas and Oklahoma from 1949 to 1967. Central was founded by Keith Kahle in 1944 to operate charter and fixed base services in Oklahoma. Due to financing difficulties, it did not begin scheduled air service until September 15, 1949, just before its original certification expired. Central was then headquartered at Meacham Field in Fort Worth, Texas.

Backers and members of the board of directors initially included Ft. Worth oilman F. Kirk Johnson, former City Councilman R.E. Harding, Jr., Don Earhart and actor James Stewart; Stewart remained on the board for many years. Lamar Muse was president before going to Universal Airlines, Southwest Airlines and then founding Muse Air. Central started with a fleet of eleven Beechcraft Bonanza A35s. These aircraft didn't attract much business, so the airline turned to Douglas DC-3s in the 1950s. The DC-3s were reinforced by Convair 240s beginning in 1960. The 240s were eventually upgraded to turboprop Convair 600s starting in 1965. Central's 1955 network blanketed Oklahoma and reached beyond to Amarillo, Dallas-Fort Worth, Little Rock and Kansas City; when the airline merged into Frontier in October, 1967, service had been extended to 40 cities in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, in addition to Texas and Oklahoma. The route system then ranged from Denver, Colorado to St. Louis, Missouri and Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas.

In 1961, the head office was moved to the new Amon Carter Field (later renamed Greater Southwest Airport). By the mid-1960s Central operated to 40 cities throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Arkansas and Missouri.

At the time of the merger with Frontier Airlines October 1, 1967, Central operated sixteen DC3s. They were aircraft N15563 N15584 N15837 N17397 N18939 N19454 N19937 N285SE N286SE N287SE N39544 N49541 N7820B N88790 N88794 and N91003. At one time Central Airlines operated 16 DC3s and 8 CV240s. When the CV240s were converted to CV7th century, an additional three CV7th century were bought, to bring a total of 11 in the fleet - ship numbers being N74850 through N74860.

The Convair 600 was a turboprop version of the CV240. It was sometimes called a CV240D. Central was the first customer for this aircraft. It first flew May 20, 1965 and only 39 were produced. It carried 40 - 44 passengers and a crew of three.

Central was sold and merged into Frontier Airlines on October 1, 1967.

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