Arizona Airways came into being as a common carrier by air on September 17, 1945, when the Arizona Corporation Commission granted the company its first certificate of convenience and necessity over a circular route out of Phoenix via Miami-Globe, Safford, Clifton-Morenci, Wilicox, Benson and Tucson. This route was later amended to extend the operation into Nogales, Arizona, via Bisbee. The firm was first incorporated in September, 1942, for the purpose of operating a preliminary flight school for the United States Navy. Its success may be gauged by the fact that upon termination of its contract after a period of two years' continuous operation, the Navy furnished the company with a record showing it had the best Navy rating of any of the seventeen preliminary flight schools in the Sixth Region. Arizona Airways attained the highest ratings in aircraft maintenance, safety and proficiency of graduates. A backlog of experience which was to stand the company in good stead in the days to come, when authorized to carry passengers on daily flights throughout the state.
Arizona Airways inaugurated its first scheduled flights on March 17, 1946, over the circular route out of Phoenix via Bisbee to the points authorized by the Corporation Commission during the hearings and as a result of the commission's order, service to Prescott and the Grand Canyon was begun on April 7 last year (1946). Service between Phoenix and Yuma was commenced on the same day and on June 2, the company began operations into Kingman and Flagstaff, followed on June 4 with schedules into Clifton-Morenci.
In selecting its aircraft, great care was used and many models and types were discussed. Douglas C-47 aircraft was finally selected. There probably is no airplane in existence today which has so completely proven itself over the air lanes of the world, providing passenger comfort, ease of maintenance, and reliability of performance day-in and day-out, as the Douglas C-47 which has been so aptly called the "Work Horse of the Army Air Force."
These planes were completely reconverted for passenger use under the direction of Vice-President Johnny Bulla, who is known to many as one of America's outstanding professional golfers and to members of the air transport industry as an airman of vast experience. Arizona Airways' fleet totals four at the present time, but arrangements already have been completed to augment the fleet to the number necessary to provide for greatly expanded service and increased mileage.
Pres. H. 0. Nelson says: "It is our intention to provide the finest in air transportation within Arizona and to our neighboring states when such additional service has been authorized. The company has a number of new route applications pending before the Civil Aeronautics Board in Washington, D. C., which applications call for the carriage of U. S. air mail not only over the new routes but over existing routes as well. We anticipate speedy and favorable action from the board which will enable Arizona Airways to more completely serve our patrons in our larger cities, plus giving a more frequent service to sparsely settled communities within the state and, in addition, operating to and through key `gateway' cities in adjacent states providing a `feeder line' service to the great transcontinental airlines as well as the north and south operators to open to our passengers the markets and vacation areas of the nation through a complete and integrated transportation system."
Arizona Airways has just celebrated its first birthday as a scheduled carrier and is justly proud of its operating record. During March, 1947, the 15,000th passenger was carried and, appropriately, this passenger was singled out to be the guest of the company on one of its scenic Grand Canyon airtours. Five hundred thousand safe miles of flying have been accomplished during the past twelve months, and operating efficiency for the same period has averaged well above 95 per cent. It is well to note - with respect to operating efficiency - that no section of the United States is blessed with such year-around equable weather as the State of Arizona and the territory within which the company operates its schedules.
During the recent pre-season exhibition games of the Cleveland Indians and the New York Giants in Arizona, Arizona Airways was chosen as the official transportation agency for these major league teams; and on one day during March flew both teams to a game at Bisbee, carrying a total of sixty-six ball players, trainers, and sport writers, which is believed to be a record. During the entire training period, these two teams were flown a total of 8,042 miles and the number of passengers carried was 382.
Arizona Airways has provided facilities for the issuance of passenger tickets and airfreight waybills at downtown locations and at all airports on its route. In addition, pursers are a member of the regular flight crews. Pursers are equipped to issue tickets to passengers in flight, thus eliminating the necessity of making any advance reservations previous to departure. The company requests its patrons to "Come to the airport and go aboard." In order to insure the efficiency of this system of purchasing tickets without advance reservations, a very careful watch is kept daily of passenger load factors on the various routes; and when the load factor becomes sufficiently high to indicate the possibility that all seats might be sold, second sections are added. The company is not a U. S. airmail contractor at the present time.
-ARIZONA HIGHWAYS, May 1947, pages 6 & 7.