HISTORY OF JACKSONVILLE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
part two: 1970-1974
This is the second part of the history of JAX. The first page, covering the construction and opening of the airport in the 1960s, can be found HERE.
An early 1970's postcard view of the north parking lot and concourse with a Delta DC-8 and a the tail a United 727 visible.
By the time the airport opened, traffic had surpassed original projections and the terminal was already too small. National Airlines, the dominant airline at JAX at the time, didn't have enough gates during peak periods and was forced to lease extra space from Eastern Air Lines. Two additional gates were quickly added to the end of National's concourse, and they are seen essentially finished but not yet open on the far right side of the terminal in this picture. Photo from the Jacksonville International Airport flickr archives.
A ground-level view of the nearly completed extension of National's concourse. Photo from the Jacksonville International Airport flickr archives.
Early 1970s postcard view of the JAX control tower.
Early 1970's postcard view of terminal showing three Eastern aircraft at the center concourse: a DC-8, 727 and DC-9. The parking lots were overflowing.
This November 12, 1971 photo shows the extended concourse at right and the Skycenter Inn Hotel under construction along Airport Road in the distance, near top left. The planes pictured at the terminal are, from left to right: Shawnee Airlines Beechcraft B-99, United Airlines Boeing 727-100, Delta DC-8-51, Eastern Airlines DC-9-31 and a National 727-200. Photo from the Jacksonville International Airport flickr archives.
An artist's depiction of the Skycenter Inn located on Airport Road just east of the terminal. The runways are off in the distance.
In 1971, nine airlines boarded a total 698,775 passengers at Jacksonville.
The following excerpt from the Civil Aeronautics Board publication Airport Activity of Certificated Carriers provides a fascinating overview of the types of aircraft operating at Jacksonville International during 1972. Most notable is that Delta was flying 370-passenger Boeing 747s on 45 minute flights between JAX and Atlanta on a regular basis that year. 297 times to be exact!
The following three photos were sent in by Marshall Massengale who worked as a summer temporary employee of Delta Air Lines on the ramp at JAX during 1971 and 1972. These were taken during the summer of 1972. The first one shows the Delta ticket counter and portion of Eastern's counter. This was shortly after the merger with Northeast Airlines and the posters on the wall advertise Delta's "Yellowbirds" (former Northeast aircraft still wearing Northeast's yellow and white paint scheme) to the former Northeast destinations of Boston and Montreal.
These signs greeted arriving passengers as they headed through the jetways from aircraft to the terminal. Photo courtesy of Marshall Massengale.
Delta DC-9 N1286L enjoying a beautiful Jacksonville sunrise during the summer of 1972. Photo courtesy of Marshall Massengale.
Eastern DC-9-31 and 727-100 at JAX on November 29, 1973 Photo from the Jacksonville International Airport flickr archives.
This May 13, 1974 scene finds 9 aircraft at the terminal: 2 Florida Airlines Cessnas, a Delta 727 and United 727 on the concourse at left, a Southern Airways Martin 404 at the end of the middle concourse at far right, and 4 National 727s at the south concourse. Photo from the Jacksonville International Airport flickr archives.
The photo in this mid-1970s postcard was printed backwards, so I reversed it! The nose of a Delta DC-8 and a United 727 can be seen at left and a trio of National 727s are parked at the south concourse. The oil-soaked ramp at the end of the middle concourse is where Southern Airways parked their Martin 404s. One big oil stain for each engine.
Baggage claim and rental car companies originally shared this small lobby on the ground level of the south side of the terminal. With the arrival of Delta's wide-body 747, DC-10 and L-1011 jets in the early 1970s, this area would become gridlocked with hundreds of passengers, friends and family waiting for their luggage. The rental car area was eventually moved around the corner to the east end of the lower level. Photo from the Jacksonville International Airport flickr archives.