Air Florida routes through the years

This month marks 40 years since the tragic Air Florida crash into a bridge over the Potomac.

Air Florida had been one the airline darlings of the post-deregulation commercial aviation era that began in 1978, but by 1984 had ceased operations. Rapid expansion which turned the carrier into a domestic and international force had come too quickly, without a solid base of passengers and operations.

Air Florida’s greatest impact was probably the initiation of fare wars on routes from Florida to the Northeast which hurt legacy carriers like Eastern, Pan Am and Delta.

Prior to deregulation in 1978, Air Florida was a carrier limited only to routes within Florida. Throughout its existence the airline had a robust level of intrastate service.

Below are a number of route maps charting Air Florida’s growth, shifts and fall:

In 1979, Air Florida began service to Dallas, New York, Philadelphia and Washington.
In 1980, Air Florida took over Miami-Amsterdam service that Pan Am abandoned after the merger with National. Additionally, multiple destinations in Central America abandoned by Pan Am were added.
In early 1981, London was added
Air Florida routes in January 1982 at the time of the crash in Washington
By late 1982, Air Florida was flying to Scandinavia
Madrid and Zurich as well as points in Germany were on the grid by 1983
Right before the collapse in 1984, Air Florida attempted to push capacity into the Midwest but by the summer months with traffic to Florida drying up, the carrier went under.
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