A Brief History of Nations Air
Unless you lived in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area around the mid 90’s, you probably never heard of a little known discount carrier named Nations Air. Nations Air was a start up airline that began operations in 1995 and ceased operating in 1999.
The airline began life as a scheduled airline operating three Boeing 737-200 aircraft on services between Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Boston. The airline would later add Myrtle Beach to their list of flight destinations.
Not long after starting operations from their Pittsburgh based hub, they faced stiff competition from USAir who matched their cheap airfares in an effort to force their new competition out of business.
Nations Air also faced safety questions, as the FAA ground the airline for a brief time in July of 1995.
The ultimate downfall of Nations Air occurred after the crash of a Valujet DC-9 in the Florida Everglades. After this crash, the public perception of discount airlines had been tarnished and airlines such as Nations Air were viewed as “unsafe” in terms of maintenance and training.
Nations Air operated a linear Boston – Philadelphia – Pittsburgh routing with several flights per day, but none operating on a ‘daily’ basis. Fares could be found for as low as $39 between Boston and Philadelphia and Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. Boston to Pittsburgh was as low as $89.
The CEO of Nations Air (Mark McDonald) decided to discontinue scheduled service and transferred their 737-200 fleet to operate casino charter flights to Atlantic City and Gulfport/Biloxi.
The airline ceased all operations on September 1st, 1999.
Nations Air Fleet
(2) Boeing 727-200 (leased from Pegasus Aviation)
(4) Boeing 737-200