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Braniff Airways, Inc., operated as Braniff International Airways from 1948 until 1965, and then Braniff International from 1965 until air operations ceased, was an airline in the United States that once flew air carrier operations from 1928 until 1982 and continues today as a retailer, hotelier, travel service and branding and licensing company, administering the former airline's employee pass program and other airline administrative duties. Braniff's routes were primarily in the midwestern and southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America. In the late 1970s it expanded to Asia and Europe. The airline ceased air carrier operations in May 1982 because of high fuel prices, credit card interest rates and extreme competition from the large trunk carriers and the new airline startups created by the Airline Deregulation Act of December 1978.[1] Two later airlines used the Braniff name: the Hyatt Hotels-backed Braniff, Inc. in 1983–89, and Braniff International Airlines, Inc. in 1991–92.

Braniff International
IATA ICAO Callsign
  • May 29, 1928 (1928-05-29)
  • November 3, 1930 (1930-11-03)
Commenced operations
  • June 20, 1928 (1928-06-20)
  • November 13, 1930 (1930-11-13)
Ceased operationsMay 12, 1982 (1982-05-12)
(Only airline operations ceased; all subsidiaries continued in operation. Company is still in operation.)
Secondary hubs
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programBraniff Travel Bonus Bonanza and Friends of the Orange 747s
  • Braniff Education Systems, Inc.
  • Braniff Realty, Inc.
  • Braniff International Hotels, Inc.
  • Braniff Guardian Services, Inc.
  • Driskill Operating Company
  • Hoteles Internacional, SA de CV
  • Braniff Airways Mexico, SA
Fleet size115 (as of December 1979)
Destinations81 (as of November 1, 1979)
Parent company
  • Braniff Airways, Inc. (until 1964)
  • Greatamerica Corporation (until 1967)
  • Ling Temco Vought, Inc. (until 1971)
  • Braniff International Corporation (1973–1983)
HeadquartersBraniff Place World Headquarters, P. O. Box 610646 2200 W. Braniff Boulevard (West Airfield Drive), DFW Airport, Texas, U.S
Braniff International Operations and Maintenance Base 7701 Lemmon Avenue Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Braniff Administration and Legal Braniff Building 324 North Robinson Avenue Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102
Braniff Airways Foundation and Braniff Boutique 9850 Plano Road Dallas, Texas 75238
Key people
  • Paul Revere Braniff (Founder & First CEO)
  • Thomas Elmer Braniff (Founder)
  • Charles Edmund Beard
  • Harding Lawrence
  • John J. Casey
  • Howard Putnam
  • Dale R. States
  • Richard B. Cass

In early 2015, the private Irrevocable Trust that owned and administered Braniff's intellectual property and certain other company assets since 1983, released the assets to a private entity associated with the Trust, which founded a series of new Braniff companies that were incorporated in the State of Oklahoma, for historical purposes and for administration of the Braniff trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property. These companies included Braniff Air Lines, Inc., Paul R. Braniff, Inc., Braniff Airways, Inc., Braniff International Hotels, Inc., and Braniff International Corporation. During 2017 and 2018, some of the original Braniff companies were reinstated for historical purposes and administration of Braniff's intellectual property assets including those of Mid-Continent Airlines, Pan American Grace Airways and Long and Harman Airlines, Inc. However, in early 2022, the private Trust that originally owned Braniff's intellectual property since 1983, reacquired these assets along with the original Braniff companies and corresponding assets.[2]


Braniff Air Lines, Inc.

In April 1926, Paul Revere Braniff incorporated Braniff Air Lines, Inc., which was a planned flight school and aircraft maintenance entity that never came to fruition. However, the name and company was retained by the brothers until 1932.[3]

Oklahoma Aero Club

In 1927, Paul R. Braniff and his brother Thomas Elmer Braniff and several investors formed Oklahoma Aero Club to fly the founding executives using a Stinson Detroiter, purchased by Paul Braniff, registered as NC1929, on hunting, fishing, and business trips. Paul Braniff, the sole pilot, flew the investors to their meetings, which included Frank Phillips, founder of Phillip Petroleum, E. E. Westervelt, Manager of Southwest Bell Telephone, Fred Jones, Ford dealership owner, Virgil Browne of Coca Cola Company, and Walter A. Lybrand, an Oklahoma City attorney.

Scheduling conflicts between the executives caused the new venture to be disbanded. Eventually, the Braniff brothers, Mr. Lybrand, and Mr. Westervelt bought out the interests of the other investors.[3]

Paul R. Braniff, Inc.

Second Braniff Airlines logo, ca. 1928–30, after company was sold to Universal Aviation of St. Louis, Missouri, in April 1929
Second Braniff Airlines logo, ca. 1928–30, after company was sold to Universal Aviation of St. Louis, Missouri, in April 1929

In the spring of 1928, insurance magnate Thomas Elmer Braniff founded an air carrier, maintenance, aircraft dealer and flight school organization with his brother Paul, called Paul R. Braniff, Inc., which did business as Tulsa-Oklahoma City Airline. The new company, founded in May 1928, began regularly scheduled service from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, using 6-passenger Lockheed Vega single-engine aircraft on June 20, 1928.[3]

The first flight was flown by Paul R. Braniff along with the company mechanic. The flight from Oklahoma City SW 29th Street Airport to Tulsa McIntire Airport was uneventful. However, the return flight was delayed several hours for thunderstorms in the area. The one-way fare between the two cities was $12.50 or $20.00 round trip with a baggage allowance of 25 pounds and a charge of .10 cents for each pound over the maximum allowable amount. The fare included ground transportation from both airports to the downtown areas of each city, which was provided by Yellow Cab Company. The new airline was solely dependent on passenger carrying fares for its revenue since it had not entered into any mail or express contracts with the United States Post Office.[3]

Universal Airlines and Braniff Air Lines, Inc.

The new Braniff venture was profitable within a month of service inauguration but with the weakening economic conditions the company found itself in need of a merger partner. In 1929, the Braniff brothers sold the assets of the company (the Paul R. Braniff, Inc., company organization was retained by the Braniff brothers) to Universal Aviation Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri, at which time, the organization started operating as Braniff Air Lines, Inc. In 1930, the company was bought by the Aviation Corporation (AVCO) which was the predecessor of American Airlines.[4]

Braniff Airlines, Inc., and the carrier grew by adding service from Oklahoma City to San Angelo, Texas, with intermediate stops at Wichita Falls, Breckenridge and Abilene, Texas, by the Summer of 1929 and service at Denison, Texas was added on July 5, 1929. An additional route was operated between Oklahoma City and Ft Worth with intermediate stops at Wewoka, Oklahoma, and Dallas Love Field and a third route operated between Oklahoma City and Tulsa with intermediates stops at Wewoka and Seminole, Oklahoma, with all beginning on July 15, 1929 (this is most likely when the first Braniff service began at Dallas Love Field). The new airline performed as one of the best in the Universal System with a 99-percent completion rate reported during the month of July 1929 and the Airline also led the other divisions in number of passengers carried.

Service was added between Oklahoma City and Amarillo during the Summer of 1929. Package express and air freight service was added to the list of Braniff services on September 1, 1929, and included Dallas Love Field.[3]

Braniff Airways, Inc.

Braniff pilots outside a B-Liner Lockheed Model 10 Electra, Houston Hobby Airport, 1940. In the background is a Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior.
Braniff pilots outside a "B-Liner" Lockheed Model 10 Electra, Houston Hobby Airport, 1940. In the background is a Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior.

In the fall of 1930, Tom and Paul Braniff once again founded a new airline called Braniff Airways, Inc., which was organized on November 3, 1930, and began service no November 13, 1930, between Oklahoma City and Tulsa and Oklahoma City and Wichita Falls Texas. Braniff Airways purchased two six-passenger 450 horsepower Lockheed L-5 Vega single-engine aircraft capable of cruising at speeds of 150 miles-per-hour. Braniff's advertising touted the new carrier as The World's Fastest Airline.

Braniff quickly expanded its route system to include Kansas City Fairfax Airport on December 5, 1930. The new service operated nonstop between Kansas City and Tulsa and additional new cities were added in early 1931. By the end of 1930, the airline had added new service to its route map and employed six people and the new service between Tulsa and Kansas City had increased system route mileage to 241 miles. On February 25, 1931, Braniff welcomed in the new year by adding Chicago Midway Airport to its route map. The new service operated nonstop between Kansas City and the Windy City, once each day. The flight originated at Wichita Falls and continued to Midway Airport with intermediate stops at Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Kansas City.

The summer of 1931 welcomed St Louis to the Braniff system on June 15, with nonstop service offered between St Louis and both Chicago and Tulsa. Additional Lockheed Vegas were added to the fleet during 1931 and 1932.[3]

Braniff's First Airmail Route

The fledgling airline shut down to reorganize in March 1933, with the company airborne again in less than a year.[5] Paul Braniff, travelled to Washington, D.C. to petition for a Chicago-Dallas airmail route. The United States Postal Service granted Braniff their first airmail route soon after and the new route was inaugurated in May 1934, which effectively saved the company from failure. In early 1935, Braniff became the first airline to fly from Chicago to the U.S.–Mexico border. In August 1935, Paul Braniff left to pursue other opportunities and Charles Edmund Beard placed in charge of daily operations. In 1954, Beard was appointed president and CEO of Braniff with Fred Jones of Oklahoma City becoming chairman of the board.[1]

Midwestern expansion

On December 28, 1934, Braniff purchased Dallas-based Long and Harman Air Lines, that operated passenger and mail routes from Amarillo to Brownsville and Galveston. Braniff began operating Long and Harman's routes on January 1, 1935, which took the airline from Chicago to Brownsville, Texas, and as far west as Amarillo, Texas.[6][7]

Wartime service

During the war, Braniff remanded all of its Douglas DC-2 fleet and a substantial number of its new 21-passenger Douglas DC-3 fleet to the United States Army Air Force. The DC-3 had just entered the fleet in December 1939. All of the Airline's DC-2s were given to the military for wartime service and none were accepted back into the fleet at the end of the war. Besides offering its aircraft to the United States military, it also leased its facilities at Dallas Love Field to the military, which became a training site for pilots and mechanics.[7]

Braniff was given a contract to operate a military cargo flight between Brownsville, Texas, and Panama City/Balboa City, in the Canal Zone. The route was called the Banana Run because Braniff's pilots made agreements with the banana producers in Panama to move their bananas to the United States to sell. Because of the war, they could not fly their produce out of the country but Braniff devised at least a small way to assist the growers. Because of Braniff's superb service during the war and over the Banana Run, the Airline would be rewarded with a significant international route award just a year after the war ended.[3]

Aerovias Braniff formed

Thomas Elmer Braniff created a Mexico-based airline, Aerovias Braniff, in 1943. Service was inaugurated in March 1945, after the carrier received its operating permits from the Mexican government. Aerovias Braniff operated from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to Monterrey and Mexico City. The new company, owned by Mr. Braniff, had three 21 passenger Douglas DC-3s that had been allocated to the carrier from the United States War Surplus Administration in February, 1945.

Mr. Braniff had applied to the federal Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) for authority to merge Aerovias Braniff with Braniff Airways, Inc. However, the Mexican government suspended Aerovias Braniff's operating permits in October 1946, under pressure from Pan American Airways, Inc., and merger of the two carriers was not approved by the CAB. Braniff was allowed to operate a charter service in Mexico for a brief period in 1947 but that was also discontinued and service was not commenced again until 1960[7]

Latin America route award

After World War II, on May 19, 1946, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) awarded Braniff routes to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, competing with Pan American-Grace Airways (Panagra). The Civil Aeronautics Board awarded Braniff a 7719 statute mile route from Dallas to Houston to Havana, Balboa, C.Z., Panama, Guayaquil, Lima, La Paz, Asuncion, and finally Buenos Aires, Argentina, and from Asuncion to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At that time, the airline changed its trade name to Braniff International Airways (the official corporate name remained Braniff Airways, Incorporated) and flights to South America via Cuba and Panama began on June 4, 1948, with a routing of Chicago – Kansas City – Dallas – Houston – Havana – Balboa, C.Z. – Guayaquil – Lima (Lima service did not begin until June 18, 1948).[8] The route was then extended in February 1949 to La Paz and in March 1949, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Douglas DC-4s and Douglas DC-6s flew to Rio; initially DC-3s flew Lima to La Paz. Braniff was the first airline authorized by the CAB to operate JATO or Jet Assisted Take-Off aircraft (DC-4) at La Paz.

Braniff inaugurated new service from Lima, Peru, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with a stop at Sao Paulo, added in October 1950. Service was extended in March 1950 from La Paz to Asuncion, Paraguay, and in May 1950 to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentine President Juan Perón and his famed wife Evita Perón participated in the festivities at the Palacio Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires. In October 1951 departures from Dallas became daily: three a week to Buenos Aires and four to Rio de Janeiro. Beginning in 1951, flights to South America stopped at Miami, but Braniff did not carry domestic passengers between Dallas and Houston and Miami.[3]

Mid-Continent Airlines merger

By October 1951, Braniff flew to 29 airports in the US, from Chicago and Denver south to Brownsville, Texas, to Central America, Cuba and South America.

After months of negotiations Braniff acquired Mid-Continent Airlines a small Kansas City-based trunk line on August 16, 1952. The merger added numerous cities, including Minneapolis/St. Paul, Sioux City, and Sioux Falls in the North; Des Moines, Omaha, and St. Louis in the Midwest; and Tulsa, Shreveport, and New Orleans in the South. The acquisition of the Minneapolis/St. Paul to Kansas City route (with stops in Des Moines and Rochester, Minnesota) was of particular interest to Braniff, as Mid-Continent had been awarded this route instead of Braniff in 1939.[7]

After the merger Braniff operated 75 aircraft and over 4000 employees, including 400 pilots. In 1955 Braniff was the tenth largest US airline by passenger-miles and ninth largest by domestic passenger miles.

With the addition of the South America route system, merger with Mid-Continent Airlines, and reduction in mail subsidy on the Mid-Continent system, Braniff International Airways recorded a US$1.8 million operating loss during 1953. Aircraft that were scheduled to be disposed of offset the loss and the company recorded a meager US $11,000 net income. An increase in mail subsidy, requested by Mr. Braniff before his death, was granted in 1954, and the company returned to profitability.[9]

Deaths of the Braniff brothers

On January 10, 1954, Braniff's founder Thomas Elmer Braniff died when a Grumman flying boat owned by United Gas crash-landed on the shore of Wallace Lake, 15 miles outside of Shreveport, Louisiana, due to icing. According to information from Captain George A. Stevens: "Mr Braniff was on a hunting expedition with a group of important citizens of Louisiana. They were returning to Shreveport from a small duck hunting lake near Lake Charles, Louisiana, in a Grumman Mallard aircraft with no deicing system. The wings iced up on approach to landing in Shreveport, and the plane lost altitude. One of the wings hit cypress stumps and the plane crashed against the shore. It caught fire and all 12 lives aboard were lost."[1]

Braniff Executive Vice President Charles Edmund Beard became the first non-Braniff family member to assume the role of president of the airline after Tom Braniff's death. Mr. Beard gathered Braniff employees together at the Braniff hangar at Dallas Love Field on January 18, 1954, to announce that the airline would move forward and assured the public that the airline would continue. In February 1954, Mrs. Bess Thurman Braniff was appointed a vice president of the company. She was instrumental in calming the fears of Braniff's creditors, which became concerned especially after the losses incurred in 1953, quickly followed by the loss of Mr. Braniff.

Paul R. Braniff died in June 1954 from complications from pneumonia and from throat cancer.[10] Tom Braniff's wife, Bess Thurman Braniff, also died in August 1954, of cancer. Tom's son, Thurman Braniff, was killed in a training plane crash at Oklahoma City in 1937, and his daughter Jeanne Braniff Terrell died in 1948 from complications of childbirth. Jeanne Braniff's child died two days after birth and her husband Alexander Terrell died a year later in 1949[1]

New equipment and facilities

Charles Edmund Beard led Braniff into the jet age. The first jets were four Boeing 707-227s; a fifth crashed on a test flight when still owned by Boeing. Braniff was the only airline to order the 707-227 because their low density and powerful engines were perfectly suited to Braniff's thin and high routes from the US Mainland to South America. In 1971, Braniff sold the jets to British West Indies Airways (BWIA), an airline based in the Caribbean. Boeing 720s were added in the early 1960s. In 1965 Braniff's fleet was about half jet, comprising 707s, 720s and British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven jetliners. The long range Boeing 707-320C intercontinental model was then introduced. However, the 707, 720 and One-Eleven would all subsequently be removed from the fleet in favor of the ideally suited Boeing 727 Trijet. Braniff's last piston schedule was operated with a Convair 340 aircraft in September 1967 and the last Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprop service was flown in April 1969.

In February 1957, Braniff moved into a new headquarters located temporarily in the new Exchange Bank Building at Exchange Park, a high-rise office development within sight of Dallas Love Field. The airline was required to move into the temporary building until its new 10-story Braniff Tower also in Exchange Park was ready for move in on Valentine's Day 1958. Braniff remained in this building until December 1978, when it moved its spacious new Braniff Place World Headquarters on the west side of DFW Airport. The airline opened a Maintenance and Operations Base with over 433,000 square feet on the east side of Dallas Love Field at 7701 Lemmon Avenue in October 1958. The airline would occupy the facility until the late 1980s, with the Braniff, Inc. (Braniff II) holding company, Dalfort, remaining there until 2001.

Supersonic transport

In April 1964, Braniff made deposits on two Boeing 2707 Supersonic Transports, $100,000 per aircraft. This would give Braniff slots number 38 and 44 when the SST began production.[11] President Beard said the two aircraft would be used on the carrier's US to Latin America flights, where the Boeing 707 was performing satisfactorily.[11]

When this deposit was made, the SST program was being financed by the US government. In 1971, Congress cancelled the program, against the Nixon Administration's wishes.[11]


In 1964, Troy Post, chairman of Greatamerica Corporation, an insurance holding company based in Dallas, purchased Braniff and National Car Rental as part of an expansion of holdings and growth outside the insurance business. Braniff and National were chosen after Greatamerica CFO Charles Edward Acker identified them as under-utilized and under-managed companies. Acker had stated in a 1964 study that Braniff's conservative management was hampering the growth that the "jet age" required, in part by cash purchase of new planes instead of financing them, diverting working capital from growth initiatives. As part of the acquisition, Acker became executive vice president and CFO of Braniff.[1]

Troy Post hired Harding Lawrence, executive vice president of Continental Airlines, who was responsible for a 500 percent increase in sales at the Los Angeles-based carrier during his tenure, as the new president of Braniff International.[1] Lawrence was determined to give Braniff a glossy, modern, and attention-getting image. Over the next 15 years, his expansion into new markets – combined with ideas unorthodox for the airline industry – led Braniff to record financial and operating performance, expanding its earnings tenfold despite typical passenger load factors around 50 percent.[1]

Mary Wells and "The End of the Plain Plane"

Boeing 707-327C of Braniff International at Honolulu Airport in 1971
Boeing 707-327C of Braniff International at Honolulu Airport in 1971
Braniff International Douglas DC-8-62 landing at Miami International Airport in 1971
Braniff International Douglas DC-8-62 landing at Miami International Airport in 1971

To begin the overhaul of Braniff's image, Lawrence hired Jack Tinker and Partners, who assigned advertising executive Mary Wells – later Mary Wells Lawrence after her November 1967 marriage to Harding Lawrence in Paris – as account leader. First on the agenda was to overhaul Braniff's public image — including the 1959 Red and Blue El Dorado Super Jet livery which Wells saw as "staid". New Mexico architect Alexander Girard, Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci, and shoe designer Beth Levine were hired, and with this new talent Braniff began the "End of the Plain Plane" campaign.[1]

At Girard's recommendation the old livery was dropped in favor of a single color on each plane, selected from a palette of rich and iridescent hues like "Chocolate Brown" and "Metallic Purple." He favored a small "BI" logo and small titles. Braniff engineering and Braniff's advertising department modified Girard's colors, enlarged the "BI" logo, and added white wings and tails. This, ironically, was based on the 1930s Braniff Lockheed Vega color schemes, which also carried colorful paint with white wings and tails. The new fleet carried such colors as beige, ochre, orange, turquoise, baby blue, medium blue, lemon yellow, and lavender/periwinkle blue. Lavender was dropped after a month, due to the similarity in coloration to the Witch Moth (Ascalapha odorata), a sign of bad luck in Mexican mythology.

Fifteen colors were used during the 1960s (Harper & George modified Girard's original seven colors in 1967), in combination with 57 variations of Herman Miller fabrics. Many of the color schemes were applied to aircraft interiors, gate lounges, ticket offices, and even the corporate headquarters. Art to complement the color schemes was flown in from Mexico, Latin America, and South America. Girard designed an extensive line of furniture for Braniff's ticket offices and customer lounges. This furniture was made available to the public by Herman Miller, for a year in 1967.[1]

Pucci used a series of nautical themes for crew uniforms for flight attendants, pilots, ground and terminal personnel. For the hostesses, Pucci used "space age" themes, including plastic Bolas (first edition zippered version) Space Helmets (second edition with snaps) as they were dubbed by Pucci. These clear plastic bubbles, which resembled Captain Video helmets and which Braniff termed "RainDome", were to be worn between the terminal and the plane to prevent bouffant hairstyles from being disturbed by outside elements. "RainDomes" were dropped the following year because the helmets cracked easily, there was no place to store them on the aircraft, and new jetway installation at many airports made them unnecessary. However, the helmets were still approved for use through 1967. For the footwear, Beth Levine created plastic boots and designed two-tone calfskin boots and shoes. Later uniforms and accessories were composed of interchangeable parts, which could be removed and added as needed.

Emilio Pucci designed additional new uniforms for Braniff through 1975. This included the updated 1966 Supersonic Derby Collection; 1968 Pucci Classic Collection; 1971 747 Braniff Place Pant Dress Collection; 1972 727 Braniff Place Pant Dress Collection; 1973 Pucci Blue Pilot Uniform; 1974 Pucci The Classic Collection and finally in 1975 the Flying Colors Collection, which only include impressive white coveralls with red and blue Flying Colors logo for maintenance personnel.[1]

MAC Charters

In 1966, Braniff obtained a government contract to transport military personnel from the US Mainland to Vietnam and other military outposts in the Pacific region. Braniff also operated flights to and from Hawaii for R&R furloughs for military personnel during the Vietnam War. The Military Airlift Command routes were expanded in the Pacific and added to the Atlantic side in 1966.[1] The last Braniff MAC charter associated with the Vietnam War was flown in 1975.

Merger with Panagra

In February 1967 Braniff, purchased Pan American-Grace Airways (known as Panagra) from shareholders of Pan American World Airways and W.R. Grace, increasing its presence in South America. The merger was effective on February 1, 1967, and Panagra's remaining piston airliners were retired. Panagra operated early model Douglas DC-8s, which were a new addition to the Braniff fleet; a Panagra order for five long-range DC-8-62s was taken up by Braniff, and deliveries began in late 1967, replacing the older Series 30 Panagra DC-8s.

Revenue Passenger-Miles (Millions) (Sched Service Only)
1951 3321269
1955 680161(merged 1952)
1960 1181198
1965 1804278
1970 4262(merged 1967)
1975 6290

"When You Got It — Flaunt It"

Under the leadership of George Lois and his advertising firm Lois, Holland Calloway, Braniff started a campaign that presented stars such as Andy Warhol, Sonny Liston, Salvador Dalí, Whitey Ford, the Playboy Bunny, and other celebrities of the time flying Braniff. After the End of the Plain Plane Campaign, it became one of the most celebrated marketing efforts Madison Avenue had ever produced, blending style and arrogance. The key advertising slogan was "When you got it — flaunt it."[12]

Management considered the campaign a success. Braniff reported an 80 percent increase in business during the life of the campaign in spite of an economic downturn the following year.[13]

"Terminal of the Future" and JetRail

Braniff opened the "Terminal of the Future" at Dallas Love Field in late December 1968 and the Jetrail Car Park people mover system in April 1970. Both operated until January 1974. Jetrail was the world's first fully automated monorail system, taking passengers from remote parking lots at Love Field to the Braniff terminal. Braniff was a leading partner in the planning of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and contributed many innovations to the airline industry during this time.[1]

Remaking the jet fleet

Braniff had been one of the first U.S. operators of the BAC One-Eleven (and the first U.S. airline to order the twin jet), but in 1965 Lawrence ordered twelve new Boeing 727-100s and cancelled most of the remaining One-Eleven orders. The 727s had been selected before Lawrence's arrival, but no orders had been placed. These planes were the "quick change" (B727-100C) model, with a large freight loading door on the left side just aft of the flight deck. This allowed Braniff to begin late-night cargo service, while the aircraft carried passengers during the day in August 1966. This doubled the 727 utilization rate and allowed Braniff to open the new cargo business, dubbed AirGo. The new 727s could also be outfitted in a mixed cargo/passenger combi aircraft configuration and Braniff did operate "red eye" overnight services carrying cargo in the forward section with seating for 51 passengers in the rear coach compartment.[14]

Boeing 747-100 at London Gatwick Airport in 1981
Boeing 747-100 at London Gatwick Airport in 1981

In 1970 Braniff accepted delivery of the 100th Boeing 747 built – a 747-127, N601BN – and began flights from Dallas to Honolulu, Hawaii on January 15, 1971. This plane, dubbed "747 Braniff Place" and "The Most Exclusive Address In The Sky", was Braniff's flagship, and it flew an unprecedented 15 hours per day with a 99 percent dispatch reliability rate over the Transpacific long route.[1] In 1978 N601BN flew the first flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to London.[1]

The Braniff 747 livery of bright orange led to the aircraft being nicknamed "The Great Pumpkin".[15][16] The popularity of "The Great Pumpkin" led to extensive publicity, and even the licensing of a scale model by the Airfix model company.[17]

The Boeing 727 became the backbone of the Braniff fleet. The trijet was the key aircraft in the 1971 Fleet Standardization Plan that called for three aircraft types: the Boeing 727 primarily operated on domestic services, the Boeing 747 for Hawaii, and the Douglas DC-8 for South America. This plan would lower operating costs. When Lawrence took office in May 1965, Braniff operated 13 different aircraft types. Braniff eventually ordered several variants of the 727 including the "quick change" cargo/passenger combi aircraft variant, the stretched 727-200, and later the 727-200 Advanced. Lawrence also increased utilization of the fleet.

In 1969 the Lockheed L-188 Electras were retired, making Braniff all jet. By the mid-1970s Braniff's fleet of 727s showed the efficiencies that a single type of aircraft could produce. In 1975 Braniff had one 747, 11 DC-8s, and 70 727s.[1] The Douglas DC-8s were aging, and there was speculation whether new Boeing 757s, Boeing 767s or Airbus A300s would replace the long range DC-8-62s (which flew Braniff's South American routes including nonstops from Los Angeles and New York City to Bogota, Colombia and Lima, Peru as well as nonstops from Miami and New York City to Buenos Aires)[18] with McDonnell Douglas MD-80s possibly being introduced on shorter routes.[1] In 1978 Braniff announced it had chosen the Boeing 757 and 767 to replace the DC-8s over its Latin America Division routes, but the airline never operated the 757, 767, A300 or MD-80.[19]

Alexander Calder

Braniff Douglas DC-8-62 wearing Alexander Calder's Flying Colors of South America design at Miami Airport in August 1975
Braniff Douglas DC-8-62 wearing Alexander Calder's Flying Colors of South America design at Miami Airport in August 1975

In December 1972, American Modern Master Alexander Calder was commissioned by Braniff to paint an aircraft. Calder was introduced to Harding Lawrence by veteran advertising executive George Stanley Gordon, who would eventually take over Braniff's advertising account.[20] Calder's contribution was a Douglas DC-8 known simply as "Flying Colors of South America." In 1975 it was showcased at the Paris Air Show in Paris, France. Its designs reflected the bright colors and simple designs of South America and Latin America, and was used mainly on South American flights.

Later in 1975, he debuted "Flying Colors of the United States" to commemorate the Bicentennial of the United States. This time, the aircraft was a Boeing 727-200. First Lady Betty Ford dedicated "Flying Colors of the United States" in Washington, D.C. on November 17, 1975. Calder died in November 1976 as he was finalizing a third livery, termed "Flying Colors of Mexico" or "Salute To Mexico". Consequently, this livery was not used on any Braniff aircraft.[20]

Halston and the Elegance Campaign

In the fall of 1976, Braniff commissioned American couturier Halston to bring an elegant and sophisticated feel to Braniff. The new Ultrasuede uniforms and Ultra Space leather aircraft interiors were dubbed the Ultra Look by Halston, who had used the term to describe his elegant fashions. The Ultra Look was applied to all uniforms and the entire Braniff fleet (including the two Calder aircraft). The Ultra Look was an integral part of Braniff's new Elegance Campaign, which was designed to herald the maturing of Braniff, as well as the look and feel of opulence throughout the airline's operation. Halston's uniforms and simple designs were praised by critics and passengers. A sleek new paint scheme, dubbed Ultra, was designed by Braniff's industrial design firm, Harper and George along with Detroit auto company Cars and Concepts in conjunction with Halston. Irridescent colors of Chocolate Brown, Perseus Green, Mercury Blue and Terra Cotta along with two metallic colors were matched with striking racing stripes called Power Paint Stripes, which served to enhance the elegant scheme with a sleek racy feel.[21]

Concorde SST

In 1978, Braniff Chairman Harding L. Lawrence negotiated a unique and advantageous interchange agreement to operate the Concorde over American soil, making it first time that Concorde was used for domestic—and fully overland—flights. Concorde service began on 12 January 1979 between Dallas–Fort Worth and Washington, D.C., with service to Paris and London on interchange flights with Air France and British Airways respectively.[22]

Domestic flights between Dallas-Fort Worth and Washington Dulles airports were operated by Braniff with its own cockpit and cabin crews. During the domestic flights, the Braniff's registration numbers were affixed to the fuselage with temporary adhesive vinyl stickers. At Washington Dulles, the cockpit and cabin crews were replaced by ones from Air France and British Airways for the continued flight to Europe, and the temporary Braniff registration stickers were removed. This process was reversed after alighting in Washington Dulles from Europe for the domestic flights to Dallas-Fort Worth. Due to the American noise regulations, Concorde was limited to Mach 0.95 yet flew at slightly above Mach 1.[1]

Concorde service proved a loss leader but it provided excellent marketing and promotion that created continued brand awareness around the globe for Braniff. Braniff charged only a 10-percent premium over standard first-class fare to fly the Concorde and later removed the surcharge. The domestic flights often had no more than 15 passengers on average for each flight while Braniff's Boeing 727 flights were filled close to the capacity despite being 20 minutes slower than Concorde. Braniff ended Concorde flights on 1 June 1980.

However, in spite of the service's less than stellar performance, the cost to Braniff was negligible thanks mainly to the agreements that Braniff negotiated with both British Airways and Air France. Braniff was fully reimbursed for any losses incurred as a result of the interchange agreement. All three carriers entered into the agreement for the purpose of promotion of Concorde in the United States and around the world. This key premise was highly successful. British Airways became concerned at the unprofitable stance that Concorde had taken and as a result of the Braniff interchange critical studies were begun to determine how to make Concorde profitable. The results of these studies found that Concorde must be marketed as an ultra luxury travel experience. Implementation of this program turned the Concorde program into a profitable as well as prestigious venture.[1][23]

Braniff issued select promotional materials and postcards that presented a Concorde with orange cheat line that began at the tip of nose and continued to the end of tail, white BI logo (designed by Alexander Girard as part of "End of the Plain Plane" campaign in 1965) against orange vertical stabilizer, and 1978 Braniff Ultra Font for "Braniff" below the cheat line. The font was part of Braniff's updated 1978 livery that removed "INTERNATIONAL" from the name only on Boeing 727 and McDonnell Douglas DC-8-62 aircraft. Braniff's Boeing 747 aircraft continued to carry the "Braniff International" titles in the 1969 Harper and George International Font. However, unlike Singapore Airline's Concorde, none of the Braniff Interchange Concordes were impressed with Braniff livery.

Deregulation and global expansion

Until 1980, Braniff was one of the fastest-growing and most-profitable airlines in the United States. However, deregulation of the airline industry was introduced in October 1978, and Braniff – as well as many of the United States' major air carriers – were caught in a peculiar predicament as a result of the unprecedented change in how airline business was conducted.[1]

Lawrence accurately believed that the answer to deregulation was to expand Braniff's route system dramatically or face an immediate erosion of Braniff's highly profitable routes as a result of unbridled competition from especially the large trunk carriers along with the new low-cost startup carriers. Braniff was surrounded on all sides at Dallas/Ft. Worth, Kansas City, Chicago, Denver, Atlanta and Miami, by the larger carriers, which were poised to immediately begin invading Braniff's long held territory. These large carriers had what Braniff termed "City Power" which was the ability to use its massive assets to dominate a particular destination. Braniff therefore enlarged the domestic network by 50% on December 15, 1978, adding 16 new cities and 32 new routes, which Braniff stated was the "largest single-day increase by any airline in history". The expansion was successful operationally and financially.[1] Archived 2013-01-21 at archive.today D Magazine, February 1981.</ref>[24] Although the expansion of 1978 was successful it did not stop losses from beginning in late 1979 as a result of unprecedented rises in fuel costs and "credit card" interest rates of 20 percent and higher, coupled with general economic unrest. As a result, Braniff reported its first operating loss since the recession of 1970.[1] The operating loss was $39 million in 1979, then $120M in 1980 and $107M in 1981.[25]

In 1979, international hubs were created in Boston and Los Angeles to handle expected increases in travel outside North America while international service was increased from Dallas/Fort Worth. From Boston and Dallas/Fort Worth, new transatlantic Boeing 747 service to Europe was operated to Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Paris.[26] From Los Angeles, new nonstop transpacific Boeing 747 service was flown to Guam and Seoul with direct, no change of plane 747 flights being operated to Hong Kong and Singapore. Load factors on these routes were considerable but with the at times unfair competition Braniff faced from Asian carriers, it pushed Braniff's breakeven point even higher making the routes unsuccessful once coupled with exorbitant fuel costs across the globe.[27] This international expansion was also planned to have included flights to Tokyo, as well as an "oil run" between Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Bahrain; however, these routes never commenced although service to Bahrain was approved by the US Government in 1979.[1] Besides standard model 747s, long range 747SPs were acquired as well for these new international flights with the 747 also being operated to South America.[28] Also in 1979, Braniff began operating nonstop flights between Honolulu and Guam and Los Angeles as well as one stop service between Honolulu and Hong Kong via Guam in addition to its long running nonstop service between Honolulu and Dallas/Fort Worth.[26]

The main impediment to Braniff's expansion was fuel cost, which increased 94 percent during 1979, coupled with strong competition from larger carriers in both the Domestic and Asia/Pacific Systems. For the first time in airline history, fuel costs, which doubled in 1979, exceeded labor as the largest operating cost for airlines. Braniff's fuel bill increased from $200 million in 1978 to more than $400 million in 1979, with 25 percent of this increase a result of increased flying but 75 percent was solely due to the rise in fuel costs around the globe.[1]

The expense of the new equipment and the costs associated with the new service and hubs increased Braniff's debt substantially although it was still manageable. However, the driving force behind Braniff's problems were the unprecedented rise in fuel costs, which topped 104-percent increase during 1980 and the erosion the company experienced as large carriers such as United, Delta and American along with new low-cost startups began taking Braniffs key routes that were protected prior to deregulation. This was the fear that Braniff and other small trunk carriers, such as National Airlines, Western Airlines and Continental Airlines had expressed concern about prior to deregulation. It was now coming true for all of these smaller carriers. As an example, Braniff's revenue for 1979 was three times less than American's, which had moved its headquarters to Braniff's hometown, DFW Airport in 1979.

For the first time in history beginning in 1979, the cost of fuel exceeded the cost of labor, which had been the airline industry's largest expense. Braniff's fuel costs rose from nearly US$200 million to US$400 million during 1979 and in spite of this huge increase in costs, the company still managed to implement service to multiple domestic destinations and expand across the Atlantic and Pacific and endure the airline coupon sales gimmicks used by passengers during the fourth quarter of 1979, which caused Braniff to lose 5 percentage points of load factor during the fourth quarter, and still only report a moderate loss of US$39 million. Had Braniff's fuel increased in 1977 by 94-percent the company would have reported a loss of nearly US$100 million, which would have been catastrophic for any airline.[2]

In late 1978 Braniff moved to a sprawling new headquarters, Braniff Place, just inside the western grounds of the airport. The beautiful employee playground/administration/training facility was the first of its kind and was later used as the model for Google and Apple headquarters design.[29] Braniff's decreasing load factors combined with record-breaking fuel cost escalations, unfair and unbridled competition, unprecedented interest rates, and a national recession (the worst since the Great Depression of 1929), produced massive financial shortfalls especially in 1980, which was caused by the severe recession that was affecting travel globally.

Harding Lawrence elected to retire in December 1980, effective January 7, 1981, after nearly 16 years (1965-1981) of service to the company. Dubbed, the last airline maverick, Lawrence oversaw the carrier's rise from a $100 million a year in revenue company to more than $1.4 billion a year in revenue at his retirement.[30]

By 1981, all 747 service to Asia and Europe with the exception of nonstop flights between Dallas/Fort Worth and London had been discontinued although Braniff continued to operate 747s on international service to Bogota, Buenos Aires and Santiago in South America as well as on domestic flights between Dallas/Fort Worth and Honolulu.[31]

John J. Casey becomes president

On January 7, 1981, the Board of Directors elected John J. Casey as president, chief executive officer and chairman of Braniff Airways, Inc. and Braniff International Corporation as a replacement to the outgoing and retiring Harding Lawrence. Former Braniff president Russel Thayer was elected as vice chairman of the board, William Huskins as executive vice president, Neal J. Robinson as executive vice president of marketing, and Edson "Ted" Beckwith as executive vice president of finance. Mr. Thayer had been extremely vocal about Braniff's critical position if deregulation were to take affect.[7]

John Casey expanded Braniff's capacity during the summer of 1981 and traffic increased with a promise of the beginnings of a turnaround. However, an unforeseen strike by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) caused delays and a decrease in traffic that actually enabled the carrier to regroup during the decrease in service. Casey then implemented the Braniff Strikes Back Campaign in the fall of 1981, streamlining the carrier's air fare structure into a simplified two-tier fare system. As part of this campaign, some Boeing 727s were divided into Braniff Premier Service (traditional First Class service) and Coach Class. The remainder of the 727s were all-Coach Class with reduced fares. The campaign was not successful, pushing Braniff's bread-and-butter business travelers over to traditional airlines with First Class on all flights. Braniff had two options prior to deregulation: grow into a larger carrier to possess "city power" at its key hubs or become a low cost carrier. Although, Braniff was considered a low-cost carrier it still possessed a seasoned and unionized work force with medical and pension plans, which were the same overhead costs as the larger trunk carriers. This was the same for Western, National and Continental.[1]

Howard Putnam becomes president

In fall 1981, Braniff Chairman John Casey was told by the Braniff board that a new president needed to be found to try to curb Braniff's mounting losses. Casey met with Southwest Airlines President Howard A. Putnam and offered him the Braniff executive position. Putnam accepted the offer, but he required that his own financial manager from Southwest Airlines, Philip Guthrie, be allowed to follow him to Braniff.

Howard Putnam implemented a one-fare-structure plan called the Texas Class Campaign. Texas Class created a one-fare, one-service airline domestically and removed First Class from all Braniff aircraft. Only flights to South America, London and Hawaii offered full First Class services. In the program's first month in operation, December 1981, Braniff's revenues dropped from slightly over US$100 million per month to US$80 million. Braniff no longer had the revenue structure to maintain its cash requirements. In January 1982, Braniff recorded its first negative cash flow. Competition throughout the Braniff system, and increased service at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport by American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, both of which operated hubs at DFW, caused further erosion in revenue.[1]

Eastern buys South America routes

In early 1982, Braniff Chairman Howard Putnam decided to sell the Latin American Division. Negotiations had been underway with Pan American World Airways since early 1982, but the Civil Aeronautics Board would not approve sale to Pan Am because it felt that Pan Am would have a monopoly over other American carriers in the region. Pan American responded by offering to jointly lease the routes with Air Florida for three years at a price of US$30 million. Pan American Chairman, and former Braniff International President, Ed Acker had previously served as Chairman of Air Florida before taking the leadership position at Pan American. The CAB decided that it would not change its position in spite of the joint service application.

Braniff International maintained that it was hemorrhaging cash and that it could not continue to operate the money losing South American system. The normally profitable South America system began losing money when fuel prices expanded in 1979, which made the legendary Douglas DC-8-62 four-engine long-range jets uneconomical. Braniff entered into negotiations with Eastern Airlines to lease the routes to the Miami-based carrier for US$18 million effective June 1, 1982, for one year. On April 26, 1982, the Civil Aeronautics Board approved the Eastern/Braniff lease agreement in a 5–0 unanimous decision. Eastern Chairman Frank Borman reported that Eastern had paid Braniff an initial payment of US$11 million with the remaining seven million USD to be paid at the end of 1982. Eastern initially offered to lease the routes for US$30 million for six years but the CAB denied the request stating that it was too long. Eastern had been trying unsuccessfully to obtain authority to fly to South America since 1938, and would operate 24 weekly flights from Miami, two from New York, and one from New Orleans to west coast South American cities that Braniff mainly served.[1]

Under the agreement Braniff International would retain service to Venezuela and American Airlines would serve Braniff's Brazilian services as required by a bilateral treaty between the United States and Brazil. Approval from South American governments for Eastern's one-year lease of Braniff's routes would not be required according to United States officials. Braniff International lauded the CAB's quick decision as the carrier had stated that because of its tenuous cash position that it might have to shut the routes down if an agreement was not approved. Braniff ceased operations on May 12–13, 1982, and Eastern took over the routes earlier than the planned June 1, 1982, commencement of service date.

Eastern Air Lines had reported losses for 1981 and felt that the purchase of Braniff's South America routes would help, but Eastern's financial condition worsened through the 1980s. Eastern never made a profit with their South American routes, due to the region's delicate financial situation at the time. On April 26, 1990, the United States Department of Transportation approved the sale of Eastern Airlines' Latin American routes to American Airlines for US$349 million. Eastern had recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and planned to use the money from the route sale to repay creditors and regain its financial footing. The funds were placed into a special fund controlled by Eastern's creditors who had recently ousted controversial Chairman Frank Lorenzo, who took over the 60-year-old aviation legend in 1986.[32]

Ceasing air carrier operations in 1982

On May 11, 1982, Howard Putnam left a courtroom at the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York City after failing to gain a court injunction to stop a threatened pilot strike (Braniff's pilot union maintains that they were not threatening a strike at this time). However, Putnam was successful in obtaining an extension of time from Braniff's principal creditors until October 1982. The next day, on May 12, Braniff Airways ceased air operations, ending 54 years of air service. Braniff flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport that morning were suddenly grounded, and passengers were forced to disembark, being told that Braniff was no longer flying. A thunderstorm provided an excuse to cancel many afternoon flights that day, although Braniff's legendary Boeing 747 Flight 501 to Honolulu departed as scheduled, with the crew later refusing to divert the flight to Los Angeles International Airport. The flight returned to DFW the following morning, the last scheduled Braniff flight.[33]

In the following days Braniff jets at Dallas-Fort Worth sat idle on the apron by Terminal 2W. The Douglas DC-8-62 fleet was flown from Miami to Dallas Love Field and stored until new owners could be found.[1]

However, even though all of Braniff's scheduled and non-scheduled airline operations ceased, all of the company's subsidiaries continued in operation, some for many years. Braniff's maintenance activities at Dallas Love Field continued to serve its non-Braniff customers and oversaw the maintenance of Braniff's grounded fleet at DFW Airport and Love Field. Braniff also continued to operate its Council Rooms, which were VIP passenger lounges, at certain airport including DFW Airport, which were contracted for use by other airlines that operated in Braniff's terminal facilities. Braniff Realty, Inc., continued to operate the Airline's airport facilities including Braniff's Terminal of the Future at Love Field, until it was sold to American Airlines in 1996. Braniff Realty also owned several of Braniff's Boeing 727-200 Trijet airliners, which were later sold as a result of the reorganization of the company in 1983.

Braniff Educations Systems, Inc., met for classes as scheduled on the morning of May 13, 1982, and during the reorganization was sold to Frontier Airlines, Inc., and operated as Braniff Education Systems, Inc., d/b/a as Frontier Services, Inc. In 1985, the company was sold to a private individual in Texas, who operated the entity as Braniff Education Systems, Inc., d/b/a as IATA or International Aviation and Travel Academy, which provided initial pilot training, airline simulator training, maintenance technician training and airline ticket and travel agent training. IATA survived until 2007.

Braniff International Hotels, Inc., also continued in operation, which primarily operated the world famous Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas. At one time, Hotels operated Braniff hotel properties throughout the United States and Latin America. Braniff had saved the historic Driskill from demolition in 1973 and purchased the entity outright in February 1975.[34] The assets of Hotels were transferred to the new Dalfort Corporation, which was the reorganized company created from Braniff Airways, Inc., and Braniff International Corporation, which was financed by the Hyatt Corporation. Eventually, the Driskill was sold to the Lincoln Hotel Corporation in 1985.

With an approved bankruptcy reorganization agreement with Hyatt Corporation a new Braniff, Inc., would be created from the assets of Braniff Airways, Inc. and Braniff International Corporation and would begin operations on March 1, 1984. Howard Putnam stepped down as president of the company with the announcement of the agreement and longtime Braniff International Senior Vice President of Flight Operations Dale R. States, became president of the company until the reorganization into Dalfort Corporation was completed on December 15, 1983.[35][36]

The original airline company continues today as a retail, licensing and branding firm. Braniff is one of only two heritage airlines that continues to control its own intellectual property and other assets with Pan Am the other. Braniff Place World Headquarters, which the carrier occupied until December 15, 1983, on the west side of DFW Airport eventually became GTE Place, and then Verizon Place.[29][37]

Successor organizations

Former Braniff employees founded Minnesota-based Sun Country Airlines in 1983. It operated a fleet of Boeing 727-200s and McDonnell Douglas DC-10s until 2001 when it filed for bankruptcy. Sun Country then reorganized and currently flies a modern fleet of Boeing 737-800s.

Fort Worth Airlines was founded in 1984 by Thomas B. King, a former Braniff vice president; two-thirds of the airline's executives came from Braniff, and even its office furniture was Braniff surplus bought at the airline's bankruptcy liquidation sale. Fort Worth Airlines used 56-seat NAMC YS-11 aircraft and flew to destinations in Oklahoma and Texas, but was unable to operate profitably, ceasing flights and filing for bankruptcy in 1985.[38][39]

Two airlines were formed from the assets of Braniff:

Braniff Today

In early 2015, the private irrevocable Trust that owned and administered Braniff's intellectual property and certain other company assets since 1983, released the assets to a private entity connected to the private Trust, which founded a series of new Braniff companies that were incorporated in the State of Oklahoma, for historical purposes and for administration of the Braniff trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property. These companies included Braniff Air Lines, Inc., Paul R. Braniff, Inc., Braniff Airways, Inc., Braniff International Hotels, Inc., and Braniff International Corporation. During 2017 and 2018, some of the original Braniff companies were reinstated for historical purposes and administration of Braniff's intellectual property assets including those of Mid-Continent Airlines,Pan American Grace Airways and Long and Harman Airlines. However, in early 2022, the private Trust that originally owned Braniff's intellectual property since 1983, reacquired these assets along with the original Braniff company and corresponding assets that it had previously owned.[2]

The trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property of Braniff Airways, Inc., Braniff International Corporation and Braniff, Inc., Mid-Continent Airlines, Inc., and Panagra Pan American Grace Airways and Long and Harman Airlines, Inc., are currently owned by Braniff Airways, Inc., of The Braniff Building, 324 North Robinson Avenue, Suite 100, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[2]

Braniff's mid-century themed travel posters, produced from 1946 to 1964, that depict travel scenes from destinations in Latin America and the US Mainland were produced in Lima, Peru, by Braniff's advertising agency. These posters are therefore not placed in the public domain but have instead undergone copyright restoration in the United States. In addition, all of these posters have been marked as official common law trademarks of Braniff Airways, Inc., and they continue as a company trademark infinitely. Richard B. Cass serves as current chairman and CEO of the Braniff companies and the private irrevocable Trust that owns those companies.[2][40]



Braniff featured one of the youngest and most modern fleets in the industry. A planned retirement of older aircraft in tandem with the addition of approximately eight to ten new jets per year was followed throughout the 1970s. However, at the same time, the company retired four to six older jets each year.

Braniff International operated the following aircraft types during its existence:[41]

Braniff International fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde 10 1979 1980 These aircraft were actually owned by Air France and British Airways,
but were leased and operated by Braniff crews subsonically between Dallas and Washington D.C. Dulles airports
as part of an interchange agreement for service between Texas and Europe
BAC One-Eleven Series 200 14 1965 1972 Fleet was retired in 1972 but one aircraft was converted for executive charter work until 1977
Boeing 707-138B 4 1969 1973 Purchased and then sold and leased back
Boeing 707-227 5 1959 1971 Only four were delivered. N7071 crashed during pre-delivery flight at Oso, Washington, Oct 1959
Boeing 707-327C 9 1966 1973
Boeing 720 9 1961 1973 Includes Series -027, 2 Series -048 and 1 Series -022
Boeing 727-100 46 1966 1982 Original order included "Quick Change" (QC) combi aircraft capable of transporting both passengers and freight on main deck
Boeing 727-200 79 1970 1982
Boeing 747-100 4 1971 1982
Boeing 747-200B 4 1978 1982
Boeing 747-200C 1 1979 1981 Leased from World Airways
Boeing 747SP 3 1979 1982
Convair CV-240 4 1952 1953
Convair CV-340 26 1952 1967 Some orders were later taken up by Ansett Airways. Two aircraft were retained for maintenance parts runners until 1969.
Convair CV-440 6 1956 1966
Curtiss C-46 Commando 2 1955 1963
Douglas C-54 Skymaster Douglas DC-4 10 1945 1954 Five Model A and five Model B
Douglas DC-2 7 1937 1942
Douglas DC-3 46 1939 1960
Douglas DC-6 11 1947 1965 Nine DC-6, 1 DC-6A and 1 DC-6B
Douglas DC-7C 7 1956 1966
Douglas DC-8-31 4 1967 1967
Douglas DC-8-51 6 1973 1980
Douglas DC-8-55CF 1 1967 1967 Leased from Douglas Aircraft Company
Douglas DC-8-62 10 1967 1982
Lockheed Model 10 Electra 7 1935 1940 To war service 1940
Lockheed L-049 Constellation 2 1955 1959 Sold 1960 and 1961
Lockheed L-188A Electra 11 1959 1969 Includes 1 Model C. Only mainline turboprop aircraft type operated by the airline. Fleet sold March 1968 but leased back until April 1969.
Lockheed Vega 12 1930 1937
Fairchild 71 5 1929 1930
Fokker F-10A 1 1929 1930
Hamilton H-47 Metalplane 4 1929 1930
Mohawk Pinto 1 1929 1930
Travel Air S6000-B 1 1929 1930 Formerly with Paul R. Braniff, Inc., as A6000-A model
Stinson Detroiter 2 1928 1929
Alexander Eagle Rock Longwing 1 1928 1929
Ryan B.1 Brougham 1 1928 1929
Travel Air 2000 2 1928 1929
Travel Air 4000D 1 1928 1929
Travel Air A6000-A 1 1928 1929

Incidents and accidents

See also


  1. Nance, John J. (1984). Splash of Colors The Self Destruction of Braniff International. New York: William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0-688-03586-8.
  2. "Braniff Airways, Inc". Oklahoma Secretary of State. State of Oklahoma. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  3. Richard B., Cass (December 2015). Braniff Airways: Flying Colors. Arcadia Publishing, Inc. p. 31. ISBN 9781467134408.
  4. F. Robert Van der Linden. Airlines and air mail: the post office and the birth of the commercial. p. 112.
  5. Perez, Joan Jenkins. "Thomas Elmer Braniff". Texas State Historical Association. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  6. Bleakley, Bruce A. (2011). Dallas Aviation. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1439624883. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  7. Cearley Jr., George W. (1986). "The Building of a Major International Airline". Braniff International Airways 1928–1965.
  8. http://www.timetableimages.com, June 4, 1948 Braniff International Airways system timetable after construction in remote regions of Central and South America.
  9. "1953 Results". 1953 Braniff International Annual Report: 2. 1953.
  10. "Paul and Tom Braniff". Dallas Historical Society. Dallas Historical Society. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  11. "BNF Puts Money Down On Supersonic Jets". Braniff B Liner Employee Newsletter: 1. May 1964.
  12. Lois, George (1977). The Art of Advertising. New York: Harry N. Abrams. pp. Introduction by Bill Pitts. ISBN 9780810903739.
  13. Heller, Steven. "Reputation: George Lois". Eye Magazine. www.eyemagazine.com. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  14. July 1, 1968 Braniff timetable, page 30
  15. The Jet Age Archived 2013-10-14 at the Wayback Machine website is one of many examples of this reference.
  16. See also the Airchive reference to "The Great Pumpkin", later known as "Fat Albert" and "Big Orange".
  17. The Airfix model is cited and illustrated at the Airfix archive.
  18. October 27, 1974 Braniff route map
  19. Cass, Richard (December 2015). Braniff Airways: Flying Colors. North Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, Inc. p. 81. ISBN 9781467134408.
  20. Goodman, Lawrence. "My Pal, Alexander Calder". Brown Alumni Magazine. Brown Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  21. "Halston". Braniff History. Dallas Historical Society. Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  22. "Concorde Flights Between Texas and Europe End; Big Dreams at the Start $1,447 for Flight to Paris". New York Times. 1 June 1980.
  23. Braniff, Airways, Incorporated (January 14, 1977). "Agreement of Interchange Service" (1): 1–28. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  24. "Airline expanding", Associated Press in The Victoria Advocate, November 19, 1978.
  25. World Air Transport Statistics (annual IATA report)
  26. July 1, 1979 Braniff International route map
  27. October 28, 1979 Braniff International system timetable & June 1, 1980 Braniff International route map
  28. October 28, 1979 Braniff International system timetable
  29. Miller, Robert. "THEIR INSPIRATION OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP WINS HONORS." The Dallas Morning News. November 8, 1985. Retrieved on August 17, 2009.
  30. New York Times (January 12, 2002). "Harding Lawrence, 81, Airline Chief, Dies".
  31. May 1, 1981 Braniff International route map & 1981 Braniff International advertisement, "Daily 747s Nonstop to Bogota"
  32. Stieghorst, Tom. "U.S. Oks Eastern's Route Sale American Airlines To Pay $349 Million". Sun-Sentinel.com. Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  33. Nance, John. Splash of Colors.
  34. Upshaw, Larry (February 1975). "Braniff Purchase Driskill Hotel". Braniff Press Release Book (2): 2.
  35. Agis, Salpukas. "Reporter". www.nytimes.com. New York Times Newspaper.
  36. Douglas B., Feaver. "Reporter". www.washingtonpost.com. Washington Post Newspaper.
  37. "Resorts for rent: Once mainly for top executives, some private conference and training centers with high amenities now welcome outside business as their owners seek ways to break even." Fort Worth Star-Telegram. February 13, 2006. Retrieved on August 17, 2009.
  38. "Airline's start-up evokes sense of deja vu". The Dallas Morning News. Dallas, Texas. 10 March 1985.
  39. Fulton, Terry (23 September 1985). "Fort Worth Airlines halts flights, files for Chapter 11". The Dallas Morning News. Dallas, Texas.
  40. AP News. "Dallas-Based Braniff Airways Signs Historic Agreement With the Dallas Cowboys, TAC Air and Reed Enterprises for Braniff Headquarters". www.apnews.com. AP News.
  41. "Braniff International fleet". aerobernie.bplaced.net. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  42. Vidal, Eugene (April 15, 1935). "Aviation Accident Report: 1934 Braniff Airways crash". Wikisource. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  43. Staff writers (1942-10-17). "Braniff Airways Plane Crashes, Burning Six to Death; Ship Falls on Shore of Bachman's Lake as Motors Fail". The Dallas Morning News.
  44. Polgar, Thomas (2011). "Assignment: Skyjacker". Central Intelligence Agency. United States Government. Archived from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  45. "Braniff Airways – Wikisimpsons the Simpsons Wiki", Retrieved on 19 August 2012.

На других языках

[de] Braniff International Airways

Braniff International Airways war eine US-amerikanische Fluggesellschaft mit Sitz in Dallas und Heimatbasis auf dem Flughafen Dallas/Fort Worth.
- [en] Braniff International Airways

[es] Braniff International

Braniff International Airways fue una aerolínea estadounidense que existió desde 1928 hasta 1982. Operó en las zonas centro y sur de la zona oeste de los Estados Unidos de América, Sudamérica, Panamá, y en sus últimos años, a Asia y Europa. La aerolínea cesó sus operaciones el 12 de mayo de 1982, víctima de la escalada de precios del combustible, así como a su agresiva e insostenible campaña de expansión y la feroz competencia que siguió a los cambios posteriores al acta de desregularización del mercado aéreo de 1978.

[fr] Braniff International

Braniff International fut une compagnie aérienne américaine qui exista à l'origine de 1928 à 1982. Le nom fut ensuite repris par un entrepreneur qui refonda la compagnie qui revola de 1984 à 1989 avant de cesser ses activités. Un ultime repreneur fut trouvé en 1991, mais la Braniff III resta en service moins d'un an.

[it] Braniff International Airways

Braniff Airways, Inc., che operava con il marchio Braniff International Airways, era una compagnia aerea major[1] statunitense che operò dal 1930 fino al 1982, soprattutto nel Midwest e del sud-ovest degli Stati Uniti, Sud America, Panama, e, nei suoi ultimi anni, l'Asia e l'Europa. La compagnia aerea ha cessato l'attività il 12 maggio 1982, a causa di fattori tra i quali i prezzi del carburante, l'aggressiva e insostenibile espansione, e la concorrenza agguerrita in seguito ai cambiamenti portati dal Airline Deregulation Act del 1978.

[ru] Braniff International Airways

Braniff Airways, действовавшая под торговой маркой Braniff International Airways (рус. Международные воздушные трассы Брэниффа) — ныне упразднённая американская авиакомпания.

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