Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Air California, later AirCal, was a regional airline serving different points in the state of California and some neighboring western U.S. states. It was founded by a partnership of Orange County businessmen as an alternative to other airlines and what was left of the state's passenger railroad system. Their initial market of service as of their January 1967 debut was between Orange County Airport (SNA) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO), a previously unserved routing.
Air California was one of the last 20 carriers to use the four-prop Lockheed L-188 Electra in regular service. After the late 1970s, its fleet was composed primarily of Boeing 737 jet aircraft, with some DC-9s and BAe 146s as well.
One novel marketing program used by Air California in the early to mid 1970s was to offer school field trips to Sacramento at $25 a head, where school children would be taken on a tour of the State Capitol, Governor's Mansion, and Sutter's Fort.
It was a fierce competitor of Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA), another intrastate carrier. After the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 it opened service to Reno, Nevada and Portland, Oregon, but became a takeover target for the larger national carriers. Air California, along with its equipment, routes, and facilities, was eventually acquired piecemeal by American Airlines in 1986.
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