Sunshine Skies Historic Commuter Airlines of Florida and Georgia, written by David P. Henderson

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PBA was probably the most significant commuter airline in Florida history. The airline operated two divisions, one in Cape Cod and one in Florida, with seasonal traffic patterns that complimented each other. The Florida division was known as Naples Airlines from 1960 to 1980, when the name was changed to simply PBA. From 1980 to 1984, the airline grew from a relatively small niche carrier to the largest commuter airline on the placom. PBA operated a massive fleet of over a hundred aircraft, which included classic piston airliners such as Douglas DC-3s and Martin 404s, large turboprop YS-11s, along with Embraer Bandeirantes and dozens of Cessna 402s. With the purchase of Marco Airways in 1984, PBA expanded into the Bahamas. The airline began a steady decline after suffering several accidents in 1984, eventually being purchased by Bar Harbor Airlines and operating flights as Eastern Express before closing in 1988.

PBA was famous for its fleet of Douglas DC-3s and operated them until 1988, almost 53 years after the type first flew. The DC-3s were configured with 30 seats, seven rows 4 abreast, plus one row of 2. N34PB (msn 2204) was built for American Airlines in 1940. As with other pre-war DC-3s built for American, the passenger door was on the right side of the fuselage.


For a detailed history of a former PBA DC-3 that continues to fly from Georgia, CLICK HERE.

PBA operated nine Japanese-built Nihon NAMC YS-11s, most of which were YS-11-200s puchased from Piedmont Airlines. The 58-seat turboprops were flown on high-traffic routes, especially between Miami and Key West. N924 (msn 2129) was PBA's sole YS-11A-300 and previously flew with the Gabonese Air Force.


PBA was one of the last U.S. airlines to operate the classic 40-passenger Martin 404. N40413 (msn 14117) was built in 1952 for TWA. To see photos of the fuselage of a former PBA Martin 404 in 2010, CLICK HERE.

PBA Martin 404

The 19-seat Embraer Bandeirante joined the fleet in 1980. This aircraft, N65DA (msn 385), was one of the many assets PBA purchased after the shutdown of Dolphin Airlines.
PBA Embraer Bandeirante

PBA's DC-3 N136PB was (in the 1980s) the highest time airliner in history, with over 90,000 hours of flight time. This particular aircraft received a lot of media attention in December 1985 as the Douglas DC-3 reached its 50th birthday.

PBA timetable December 1985

Bar Harbor Airlines bought PBA in 1987 and continued to operate many of the DC-3s in the colors of Eastern Express. N34PB is seen at Miami during the 1987-88 winter season. Note the British Airways Concorde in the background on the right.

PBA / Eastern Express DC-3 N34PB



For additional timetable images and information, visit the PBA pages at Air Times and Timetable Images.

There are some great Provincetown-Boston Airline videos on the MEDIA page.

If you would like to share photos, stories or additional information about any of the airlines or aircraft on this site, please CONTACT ME  I would love to hear from you!

Updated December 14, 2010