Arizona Air Lines was founded in 1945 out of Tucson, Arizona using a large number of C-47 and R4D Skytrain aircraft retired by the U.S. Military at the end of World War II. Operations started in late 1945 and Arizona Air Lines became an instant hit. An airline without luxuries as would have been seen on early Central, TWA, Pan Am or other airlines, yet it flew across most of the southwestern U.S. to cities rarely visited by airlines by 1947. In 1948, the massive success allowed the airline to buy 6 second hand L-049 airliners. All second hand Connies were immediately re-registered and repainted in a vibrant paint scheme. The first being N49V. The last of the first batch was N55V. Arizona also took advantage of the soon to be out of production L-749A. 15 were ordered and delivered between 1950 and 1951, being the only Connies ever ordered from Lockheed itself by the airline. N56V through N71V were immediately added to the fleet upon delivery. In 1953, Arizona bought 15 more used L-049 airliners, re-registered N72V through N87V. Yet another 15 L-749A airliners were added in 1955. N88V to N103V. These Connies replaced all the DC-3s in the airline by 1956. In 1959, 20 L-749A aircraft were purchased, having been immediately retired due to the impending jet age. Arizona Air Lines now operated 71 Constellations and became the largest Connie operator in the United States following the retiring of the TWA and Eastern fleets by 1967. Although, by 1965, 15 Boeing 727-100 and 10 Douglas DC-9-10 airliners had been ordered for a gradual transition to jet airline operations. However, Arizona would not see independent operation as a jet carrier. In June 1968, following Flight 6 in Montgomery, Central Air Lines declared a crushing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. All operations were grounded, leaving hundreds of fliers stranded and thousands of workers off of a job. Seeing the potential the Central brand name and international operating certificates it had, Arizona Air Lines came together with Pacific Southwest Airlines of San Diego, California, Southwestern Freight Lines of San Francisco, California, Transtar Airlines of Cleveland, Ohio, Standard Airlines of Portland, Oregon and Midwest Speed Lines of Rogers City, Michigan to purchase the fallen company from its creditors. In July 1968, it was agreed by most of the airlines to form a complete merger. PSA backed mostly out of this idea, but agreed to buy 10 percent of Central. Transtar, Midwest, Southwestern, Standard and Arizona all merged, creating the Central Holdings Corporation. In August 1968, the creditors agreed to the purchase, selling Central Air Lines to the new company. Though Central Air Lines would be the resulting company, large changes were made. Transtar's livery was reworked slightly and turned into the new color coded scheme of Central. Southwestern Freightways' "Globeliner" monniker for its cargo aircraft were to be advertised on all central aircraft, replacing "Clockliner" and "Clockjet". Midwest and Standard merged. Later that month, operations restarted. Central's route system now included the major jet routes Arizona had opened up, along with inheriting the jet routes operated previously by Standard. This meant, Standard and Arizona would both lose their new jetliners to Central. The Central 727 fleet was increased due to this and the 35 orders for 727-100Cs, 727-200s and 737-200s that had been made by Arizona and Standard were transferred to Central. The order for 10 more DC-9-10s was cancelled. By 1974, the DC-9-10s already in service that had been transferred from Arizona to Central were retired in favor of the 737. The 727-100C and 727-200C aircraft from Southwestern Freightways were transferred to Central Cargo Lines. The former company also merged into the cargo airline subsidiary of Central. All the 2-0-2, 4-0-4, DC-4M, DC-6, L-049 and L-749 airliners retired by Central in 1970, were distributed between Arizona and Standard, which both of now operated in Central Colors and acted as commuter connection airlines for Central. The Martinliners and Douglas propliners went to Standard. All the Connies were sent to Arizona Air Lines. Now operating over 100 Connies, Arizona was the largest Lockheed Constellation operator and owner in the world. Arizona, which had semi-independent management, kept its Connies while Standard Air Lines bought several second hand L-188 Electra and Convair CV-580 aircraft to replace its older propliners with. In 1984, both Standard and Arizona ordered the ATR 42 to replace the Connies, Electras and Convairs. The ATR 72 was added in 1988. In 1989, the last Connie operated by Arizona Air Lines, N88V, made its last flight. Today, Arizona and Standard along with the newer Air7 all make up Central's commuter network as well as serving PSA. On May 8, 2012, V2 Airlines merged with the Central Holdings Corporation added several more airlines under the same company belt. The co-run company now has the largest route network of any airline family as well as one of the largest heritage networks.
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