National Airlines

National Airlines began in 1934 as an airmail carrier, flying mail between St. Petersburg and Daytona Beach. The founder, G.T. Baker operated two Ryan aircraft. In the mid 30's, National Airlines began expanding its mail route. Entering World War II, National Airlines contracted by the Air Transport Command began providing pilot training and transporting aircraft and military troops. This provided revenue that the airline needed to remain viable. At that time Americans were not travelling due to the war. In 1944, National Airlines was awarded passenger routes between New York and Florida operating DC-4's. By 1946, National Airlines was awarded routes from Miami to Havana, Cuba and Miami, Tampa to New Orleans. National continued to grow by the 1950's it was providing night and excursion flights at cheap rates. By the 1970's, National installed a multi million dollar computer reservation system. This allowed National the competitive edge. Passengers could book their flights over the telephone with ease. National also began providing non-stop service from Miami to London. Throughout the 70's, National expanded its passenger routes. It began to services Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. National Was also breaking into the Caribbean markets with flights to San Juan.

During the late 70's and 80's it was a very turbulent time for the survivability of airlines. Airlines were swallowing other airlines, take over and merges were occurring daily. In 1980, Pan Am took control of National Airlines through the purchasing of stocks. This was a take over that was not foreseen and it was considered to be a hostile one.